8:22 AM IST - Monday April 21, 2014

Kerala to beckon more tourists with air connectivity

Bangalore, March 12 The Kerala government will soon provide last mile connectivity by air to draw more tourists to its scenic destinations across the state and showcase its legendary Muziris port in Thrissur district, officials said Tuesday.

As a nodal agency, the state-run Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd will implement the “seaplane project” to provide the last mile connectivity by air to as many holiday destinations across the state.

“Plans are underway to provide air service in the priority circuit, connecting Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode with prime tourist destinations like Astamudi, Punnamada, Kumarakom, Bolgatty and Bekal during this year,” Kerala Tourism director Rani George told reporters Tuesday at a road show here on promoting tourism in “God’s own country”.

The state tourism department will also organise daily trips to the ancient seaport of Muziris and its heritage site that stretches from north Paravur in Ernakulam district to Kodungalloor in Thrissur district to promote awareness of the cultural distinctiveness and diversity of Muziris in the Periyar river basin on the Malabar Coast.

“The project Muziris is aimed at reinstating the historical and cultural significance of Muziris through 25 heritage museums,” George said at the ‘Kerala Superhits’, a cultural experience of music, dance and cuisine.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa claimed that revenue from tourist traffic increased 11 percent to Rs.21,125 crore in calendar year 2012 from Rs.19,037 crore in 2001, with foreign exchange accounting for Rs.4,548 crore as against Rs.4,223 crore in the previous year.

“As God’s own country, Kerala attracted 794,000 foreign tourists in 2012 as against 733,000 in 2011. Similarly, domestic tourist traffic crossed the 10-million mark from 9.4 million during the same period,” Billa said.

Harnessing the powers of the digital revolution, Kerala took to social networking by using Facebook and Twitter in a big way to bring all stakeholders, including tour operators, property owners and travel agencies to woo more domestic and foreign tourists to the state.

“Kerala has also become the numero uno travel destination in Google’s search trends for India this year. Munnar hill station is on the list of ‘Top 10 Indian destinations on Google’s Zeitgeist site, showing search trends from the world over,” Billa said.

As part of its new ayurveda campaign, the department will promote the Western Ghats for its abundant medicinal plant reserve and a prime destination for health-conscious tourists.

About 40 percent of the Western Ghats ranges lie in Kerala, with 41 of its 44 rivers originating from the rich biodiversity hotspot.

“The ayurveda we offer is essentially a wellness-oriented treatment to bring about more vigour to one’s system. That is what the tourists look for,” Billa added.

ians

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