Thiruvananthapuram:Considering the immense scope of Kerala’s tourism industry to contribute more revenue to the state, the stakeholders in the sector should focus more on developing infrastructure besides coming up with innovative products to tap the global trends, State Minister for Finance K N Balagopal said on Thursday.
The Minister was speaking after inaugurating GTM Expo 2023, the first edition of South India’s prestigious travel expo, being held as part of Global Travel Market (GTM 2023), an annual B2B travel and trade exhibition, organised by South Kerala Hoteliers Forum, Thiruvananthapuram Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Tavaz Ventures, and Metro Media at Travancore International Convention Centre, Greenfield International Stadium in Karyavattom from September 27 to 30.
“Tourism has already become an important sector wherein the scope of private investment is very high. It is also a sector where investors can earn handsome returns. So, it is vital to apply innovative marketing strategies to promote Kerala Tourism globally”, the Minister said.
Promising total support of the government to the tourism industry initiatives, Balagopal noted the expos and travel markets like GTM should facilitate the exchange of experience and networking among the participants and visitors.
Though there has been a considerable increase in travel charges after the pandemic, the flow of tourists both domestic and foreign has shown a steady increase. This shows the changed mindset of the people who are ready to travel to safe destinations like Kerala and their willingness to spend a major portion of their income for activities allied to tourism, he said.
Lauding the efforts of the organisers of GTM, the Minister urged the stakeholders to project the topographical specialities of the state besides ensuring more participation and initiatives from their end.
Kadakampally Surendaran, MLA, presided over and hoisted the GTM flag.
K Jayakumar, former Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala in his special address, said the GTM organisers can act as facilitators between the government and the industry thus encouraging more investors and growth of tourism.
Siji Nair CEO, GTM welcomed the gathering and proposed a vote of thanks.
Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) President Jose Pradeep, SKHF President Sudeesh Kumar and Uday Samudra Group Chairman Chenkal Rajasekharan Nair also spoke at the function. Prasad Manjali, General Convenor and Chief coordinator, GTM, TCCI President, SN Reghuchandran Nair and Kottukal Krishnakumar, General Secretary, KTDA were also present.
Earlier this week, a bike rally that kicked off in Madurai, wound its way down to Thiruvananthapuram before culminating at the Global Travel Market. The event was organised with the dual purpose of promoting tourism in South India and raising awareness about the Copper Plate Circuit. The rally was received and flagged down by Siji Nair, CEO, GTM.
More than 1000 trade visitors, 600 plus domestic and 100 international tour operators and 100 plus corporate buyers are attending the summit.
A familiarization tour will be organised on September 30 to introduce the delegates to riveting tourist attractions like Jatayu Earth Centre, Ashtamudi Lake, Poovar, Thiruvananthapuram city, Varkala and Kovalam.
The expo will be open for the public to visit on September 30.
The event has 200 plus stalls put up by major hoteliers and resorts, tourism boards and organisations, airlines, travel agents, tour operators and travel tech innovators.
Also, pavilions featuring six themes including inbound travel to Kerala, outbound travel operators (both B2B and B2C), Ayurveda, yoga and wellness, resorts, retreats and hospitals, wedding tourism, corporate conclaves, homestays and serviced villas have been set up at the travel expo.