Kerala has made another leap towards promoting tourism. This time, the promotion is through traditional Kerala Cuisines and Kerala style cooking. The state has launched an international competition called ‘The Great Kerala Food Championship’ towards this goal. The contest is aimed at promoting the uniqueness of Kerala cuisine and to invite an international experience.
Those who are interested to participate have to submit an online write-up in English on your favourite Kerala dish or any story directly related to your experience with Kerala food. The write-up can also include your favourite Kerala recipes and the reason behind why you like it. The article should be submitted to the website of Kerala Tourism through the contest page using the login id and password received at the time of registration.
To submit the free entries one has log onto www.keralatourism.org/foodchampionship . Anyone who is aged above 18 can join the contest which will close on March 15. Although it is encouraged to send one entry per participant, he or she can send more than one (maximum 5) from the same login.
The entries made should be in English and must contain words between 200 and 600. The winners will have attractive prizes like 2 nights to 3 night stay at a Kerala hotel for two people in the months between May-August and airfare to Kerala from any point within the country to collect the prize. Other prizes include T-shirts for 300 randomly selected participants and as many as 100 consolation prizes in the form of household articles.
The two week long road journey called “Kerala Blog Express” for selected bloggers from around the world to begin on March 1. The road journey will start from south to the north of Kerala on a branded luxury bus that carries 25 bloggers selected through an online voting created by Kerala Tourism.
Kerala Blog Express will travel through destinations like Alappuzha, Kovalam, Varkala, Kumarakom, Thekkady, Munnar, Wayanad, Kochi and Bekal during the two-week journey. The selected bloggers will also be able to participate in activities like boating in the backwaters, experience Ayurvedic treatment, and watch Kathakali performances, besides giving bath to the state’s famous captive elephants.
Entries from as many as 80 countries, including US, UK, Poland, Spain, Germany, Canada and Indonesia had been received. Some of the contestants participating in the race for the 25 seats have already featured in National Geographic, Conde Nast Traveller and Lonely Planet. The participants who have their own blogs like travel writers, photographers and bloggers are eligible to enter the selection. The registration for ‘Kerala Blog Express’ journey had ended on January 10. Profiles of participants are available on Kerala Blog Express website for voting by the general public.
While then, the Kerala Tourism website has won the national tourism award for the 6th time for ‘most innovative use of information technology’ for 2012-13. The website was rated best among travel websites from India.
Kerala is famous as a leisure destination for tourists around the world. In the recent times there is a sharp increase in the number of visitors who come for Ayurveda treatment. Apart from Ayurveda, the state is set to develop adventure and heritage spots in order to broaden the tourism scene to create more inflow of tourists.
The state at present aims at leisure tourists who come to Kerala for Ayurvedic treatments. It is believed that the Muziris Heritage site and the Spice Route revival project can attract tourists all round the year. The addition of new destinations is expected to bring in 10% increase in tourist arrivals this year. In 2013, the total revenue from tourism had crossed Rs.21, 000 crore.
The Muziris in the east of Kerala was once the greatest trading ports of the old days where Arabs, Chinese, Jews, Romans, Portuguese and Dutch came to trade. The upgrading of heritage tourism plans will showcase Muziris Heritage through more than 25 museums. 11 museums are ready to open to the public by the end of February.
Kerala has plans to introduce sea-plane project which aims at improving connectivity by air to destinations across the state. Through the idea of Spice route, the state plans to connect with 31 countries in Europe, Asia and Far East by creating a new experience. The project has garnered support from the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). A conference is planned in this regard by the end of this financial year. The representatives of 31 countries will participate and discuss on how to take things forward.
Kerala Tourism bags the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) Ulysses Award for Innovation in Public Policy and Governance. The award has made Kerala the first Indian state to win the UN award. It is considered to be the top UN Award for global leadership in creating innovative initiatives through Responsible Tourism. The award was presented on January 22 at a ceremony held at the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR), in Madrid, Spain.
Kerala was awarded for its innovative ‘Responsible Tourism’ project in Kumarakom. The project had successfully linked the local community with the hospitality industry and government departments. This in turn has created a model for empowerment and development of the people in the area while sustaining eco-friendly tourism.
The Kumarakom model initiative had earlier won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project in March 2013 and also, the PATA Grand Award for Environment. At the awards ceremony, the UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai said, “Kerala, a popular ecotourism destination, portrays responsible and sustainable tourism in an exceptional manner”. “The recognition Kerala received is a great step towards creating a better understanding among other destinations”, He added. Taleb Rifai wished “continued success” for Kerala Tourism!
In 2013, the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism had won the UNWTO Ulysses Award for its Homestay Experience Programme.
The Monsoon in Kerala has ceased and, it is the time to celebrate your holidays and special occasions on Kerala Beaches and backwaters. At present there are two beach festivals happening in Kerala. One is at Cherai Beach in Ernakulam and another is at Munakkal beach, Thrissur.
Cherai Beach Tourism Fest 2013
The Cherai Beach Tourism Fest is celebrating its 13th anniversary this year. Every year the beach fest is a celebration of the local temple arts, folklores and the extinguishing traditional classical art form – Chavittunadakam.
The Cherai beach fest falls on the last week of December every year and this incorporates Christmas and New Year celebration. The fest started on 22 December and ends by 31 with the New Year. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurated the tourism mela on 22 December. The ten days Cultural celebration exhibits a variety of activities by local and national artists.
Muzris Beach Fest 2013
It is said that Muzris, a coastal village in Thrissur district of Kerala was once the “Gateway of India”! The Muzris Beach Fest that happens now is yet another chance to rewind the memories of that great past. Muzris town was once a shining abode for world tourists and businesses until the disastrous 1341 flood washed away even the footprints of this great town.
The Muzris Beach fest is held on the famous Azhikode-Munakkal Beach from 27 to 31 December 2013. This is 8th beach fest held on the Munakkal Beach. It is held in association with Kerala Tourism Department, Eriyad Panchayath and Azhikode-Munakkal Muzris Destination Management Council. During the fest, there will be an array of colourful events like Helicopter Ride, Kite flying, adventure tourism programmes, Cultural activities by International artists, sea cruises, a rain of colours, beach race, food fest, carnivals and processions. The five day fest will have a day full of activities that lasts until midnight. One of the major attractions of the fest is that one can enjoy a ride on a horse or Camel.
The nearest towns of Azhikode are Kodungallur and Paravoor. The Munakkal beach in Azhikode has got the vast shore stretch around 3 km along the main beach side. It is the main attraction of this village. The main activity of the villagers here is fishing.
Both these beach festivals are sure to add more merry and excitement to the holidays of the tourists and the local people here.
The Sivagiri Pilgrimage will also include various other programmes including the centenary celebrations of ‘Daiva Dasakam’, a prayer penned by Sree Narayana Guru, the 150th birth anniversary of social reformer Dr. Palpu and conference on women among others.
The pilgrimage, which will have 10 conferences on different subjects will be attended by various political leaders and eminent personalities from all walks of lives including Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi, Goa Transport Minister Ramkrishna Sudin Dhavalikar and writer M K Sanu among many others. Another highlight of the function will be a health and de-addiction conference, which will be inaugurated by Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson P J Kurien.
A ‘Narayana Global Meet’ will be held on the third day on January 1, which will be inaugurated by Mizoram Governor Vakkom Purushothaman. Some of the other star attractions of the event include Sri Narayana Divya Satsang from December 25 to 29 and various cultural programmes. Live webcast of the events will be made available on www.sivagirimutt.org.
In an innovative promotional scheme to popularise Malayalam, The State Institute of Languages is all set to launch a slew of new technologies, including an English-to-Malayalam translator ‘Paribhashika’.
M R Thampan, director of the institute, said that as part of its efforts to popularise Malayalam the new initiatives would be launched on November 1, the state formation day, by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. “They include a spelling and grammar checking system, new Malayalam fonts and a complete translation system,”
The software ‘Paribhashika’, developed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) is a pattern directed, rulebased English-to-Malayalam machine-aided translation (MAT) system. It is heartening to note that this software is the first of its kind for Malayalam where the AnglaBharati MAT engine has been customised for a Dravidian language. The institute is also planning to extend its language software in mobiles as well.
This software can be used for all possible types of translation as it has text and file input facilities apart from post editing options. Typically translation of a chapter from English to Malayalam takes three months by conventional methods whereas Paribhashika can wrap up the work within just a month. This innovative software will encourage the Malayalam writers to translate their works and will help in popularising Malayalam, the official language of Kerala among kids.
It seems that the hotly fought sea -saw game between the pro and the anti liquor campaigners in Kerala is likely to end in a tie. For every step to prevent alcoholism in Kerala, a counter step is being designed to promote drinking! For a cash starved treasury, the revenue of Rs.8841 crores last year from government controlled corporation selling Indian Made Foreign Liquor was something too big.
Now a few enterprising guys have devised a cheeky mobile application named ‘Kuppi’, (which literally means bottle in Malayalam ) that gives you the available liquor brands at BEVCO and its price in a few clicks. The the anti liquour campaigners says that this app violates Act 47 of the Indian Constitution as well as Cable Network (Regulation) Amendment Bill as Act 47, bans the use of intoxicating drinks and drugs for non-medicinal purpose, while the cable network amendment says that mobile being an electronic medium, cannot advertise liquor.
However, the illusive creators of the app who have gone underground following the controversy says that the details on the mobile apps carry only the details that are already available on the BEVCO website and does not promote any specific brand or drinking in general.
Kerala already holds the dubious distinction of being the first State to open an exclusive supermarket for premium brands of liquor so that the rich and the famous can get their favorite brand without having to stand in queue in the roadside outlets. The kick of ‘Kuppi’ is likely to linger on for many days considering the heated debate that it has set off!
Google search results have unveiled an interesting pattern that put South Indians way ahead than the rest of the country when it comes to online searches on healthy food. From garlic to pomegranate and egg whites, the health conscious south Indians do not seem to get enough of their online health updates.
The highest number of searches were recorded from the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Kerala topped the search results for items such as oats and olive oil and the recent dengue epidemic scare triggered a whopping 250 percent increase in the searches for the popular herbal remedy of the papaya leaves.
Apart from papaya, Pomegranate too topped the search lists of South Indians thanks to its medicinal value and anti-cancerous properties. The highest number of searches for pomegranate came from Tamil Nadu, to be followed by Karnataka.
The netizens of Karnataka searched the most for garlic, green vegetables, oats, sprouts and egg whites. Oats which is thought to be effective in controlling obesity is evolving as a popular breakfast item for South Indians while garlic is favored for its anti viral and anti oxidant properties that can slow down the process of natural aging.
Interestingly , the online community of Kerala was not very keen on other popular health foods such as skimmed milk, turmeric, green vegetables or sprouts unlike the other South Indian states. The highest number of searches for turmeric were from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh while the keyword skimmed milk got the maximum hits from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Delhi and Maharashtra. It is heartening to note that the next generation of Kerala is not leaving anything to chance in health matters, which in turn will go a long way in safeguarding the healthcare credentials of Kerala .