Kerala won yet another ultimate recognition in the communication of global tourism at ITB Berlin. The “Golden City Gate Award” is considered the Oscars of Tourism and, Kerala won it for its print campaign on backwaters. This is the second major international award for Kerala Tourism after United Nations World Trade Organization (UNWTO) Ulysses Prize, in a two months period.
The Das Goldene Stadttor or the Golden City Gate awards are held under the patronage of the German Federal Association of Film and Audio-Visual Producers. ITB-Berlin is the world’s leading travel trade show initiated in 1996 and where 180 countries participate. “The Great Backwaters Campaign” launched last year, won the award after facing tough competition from major tourism boards of the world.
The Golden City Gate Awards are presented in the print, film and media categories and assessed by an international jury. The print campaign presents the state’s famous water bodies as a single destination and once-in-a-lifetime experience for the traveller, in the big league of the Great Wall of China and the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.
This recognition is a great achievement for Kerala. It is expected to create a major boost to the state’s reputation as one of the top tourism destinations in the world!
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.
As part of Kerala special tourism projects, weddings and other corporate events are to be made part of state tourism policies.
Kerala has been recently recognised as an ideal destination for MICE’s (Meetings, Incentives, Conventions, and Exhibitions). Relatively, MICE’s are identified as the fastest growing segments in the tourism industry. The conventional and unconventional meeting opportunities that Kerala offers make it an ideal destination for MICE’s.
The idea is totally right as Kerala has some of the country’s best picturesque backdrops for meetings and conferences. Kerala has an impressive array of accommodation, leisure and other conference-support facilities that highlight the aquatic and tropical beauty of the place.
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.
Kerala Forest Department introduces a new system to bring transparency in issuing tickets for various tourism packages at Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR). Under the new plans, the boating facility comes on top.
The new system makes it possible to check the tickets of every individual by verifying the identity cards at various points. This is the first time to introduce such a system in the state. There is also a plan to bring the boat landing centre and other important areas under camera surveillance by installing 14 cameras.
The camera facility may be introduced in Periyar Tiger Reserve by February second week. After that every ticket issued will have a bar code. This allows only genuine ticket holders to enter the gate. The PTR Package normally includes 10 trips which many tourists do not utilise. The new system helps the authorities to let know of any misuse of packages not utilised by the genuine tourists. What otherwise happens is, the agents sell it at higher price to other tourists. This affects the revenue of the Forest Department as the money is usurped by the agents.
The screenings of tourists start from the entry check post through which the vehicle passes into the PTR boat landing centre. The PTR is planning to introduce the camera facility by February second week after which each ticket will have bar coding. This enables only genuine ticket holders to enter the gate. Only 25% of the total tickets are offered online while the remaining is sold through the counters at the boat landing centre in Thekkady. A total of around 3,000 tourists are able to do boating on a day in the boats operated by the Forest Department and the KTDC.
To attract more tourists to the centre, the PTR also have plans to set up kiosks to avail tickets at 10 centres in the state. Three centres will be in Kumily, one in Munnar and the remaining in Kumarakam, Kottayam, Nedumbassery airport and other such places.
Kerala Tourism Partnership meets for the year 2014 are scheduled in the tier 1 cities of India. According to the schedule, Bangalore, Chennai, Coimbatore, Mumbai, Delhi, Guwahati, Kolkota, Hyderabad are cities to hold Partnership Meets from 7th January to 25th February.
The partnership meets are to offer tourism industry members an effective B2B platform to establish potential markets for Kerala. Various businesses include, travel and Hospitality Trade from Kerala including Hoteliers, Tour operators, House boat operators, Home stays and Ayurveda centres. The businessmen from Kerala meet tour operators & travel agents in selected cities in India. It is a full day business event which envisages the promotion of Kerala Tourism via public private-partnership and enables buyers from target cities to understand and explore Kerala. The partnership meets include business sessions, screening of films on destinations and products, interactive sessions, media interaction and cultural programmes.
Kerala Tourism will be inviting the tour operators and travel agents of the source market to the Partnership Meets to attend as buyers. So, this is indeed a great opportunity for Kerala tour operators aiming tourists from across India.
Photo Courtesy: Keralatourism.org
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.