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.
The “Nirbhaya Scheme” initiated with the help of central government to ensure the safety of women and children in the highly literate society of Kerala will be inaugurated by the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on 15th February. According to the project plan, every Panchayath/local self government will have 10 Nirbhaya volunteers each. These volunteers will make frequent visits to the houses where lone ladies, widows and old aged lives. They will make a check to know their well being and if required get police aid.
The government of Kerala has sanctioned 7.5crore rupees towards this programme. As per the new scheme, local bodies, Jagratha Samithis and Kudumbasree will be at the core of grassroots interventions related to prevention, identification and rescue. They will also take responsibility for the rehabilitation of cases of sexual violence and sex trafficking.
Jagratha Samithis, under the Kerala Women’s Commission, at panchayat/local self government level will be the core committees for implementing the Nirbhaya programme. In addition, there will be district Nirbhaya committees and a state level coordination committee which will closely review the status of the programme and monitor the functioning of local bodies, departments and institutions.
Photo Courtesy: The Hindu
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 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
As 2013 ended and 2014 loomed large, one of the important topics talked about in national and international level, is the development of the state of Kerala. Since Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, was selected to lead the Bharatiya Janata Party’s campaign in the upcoming general election for the 16th Lok Sabha in India, the debate on whether Kerala or Gujarat model of development was best for India heated up…
While Indian media celebrated and supported Gujarat model development, Amartya Sen, Indian economist and a Nobel laureate who conducted research on the Kerala development model, publicly opposed it. He said,”Gujarat is still behind Kerala for the Human Development Index”. Ever since Amartya Sen’s involved in the subject, many other world economists injected themselves into the matter and supported Modi and Gujarat.
Kerala leaves other states behind and is way ahead in health rates, lowest child mortality, population growth rates, high savings, expenditure rates, high individual net income rates and economic growth rates. The people who support the Gujarat model development had to agree to the view that Kerala is much ahead of other Indian states. The credit, they conclude for the Kerala’s development, is not of the Government’s but that of individuals, institutions and systems present in the state.
The research conducted by the Indian division of “Standard and Poor” (an American International rating agency of US) CRISIL also found Kerala as the number one state for development in different sectors. Malayalis can be proud to belong to the developed state of Kerala. However, dynamic Malayalis are showing a growing tendency to return to agriculture as people here worry about remaining a consumer state. One thing is true; Malayalis earn and spend a lot and are well aware of dying traditions and zooming progress and its pros and cons.
As we step into the New Year, here’s wishing more accolades to Kerala in socio-economic development in the year 2014!
A 1-litre bottle of mineral water that will be processed from the Department’s water plant at open prison at Nettulkaltheri from 2014 will cost only Rs. 10. The plant will make use of the water from the two dams of Nettukaltheri and Thevancode, inside the open prison compound. The dams together have a capacity of 4 crore litres of water.
The department is also planning to set up at Central Prison in Viyyur and market medicinal water also at Rs. 10 a litre, with effect from January 2014. Medicinal water will be made from the plants at the medicinal garden in Viyyur prison spreading over 10 acres. Oushadi, government-owned Ayurvedic medicine manufacturing company, and Small Industries Development Corporation (Sidco) are offering technical support for the medicinal and mineral water projects respectively.
In most cities in Kerala there is a dearth of potable water and a huge demand for safe drinking water in the bottled form. Considering the fact that a litre of milk costs Rs. 25 while it costs Rs. 30 for water, the bottled water will be a boon to the city folks. The medicinal water will also contain various ingredients that are effective in preventing various life style diseases as well.
It is a matter of pride for every Keralite that the laudable act of the jail authorities in channelizing the energy of the prison inmates into creative activities will be a model for other states as well.
Kerala has been rated as one of the 10 best travel destinations for family for 2014. Lonely Planet, the world’s largest travel guide book publisher gave this prestigious award to Kerala at World Travel Mart in London, attended by representatives from the tourism industry from all over the world .
Kerala was put in fourth position among the top 10 overseas family destinations by Lonely Planet while the first three positions were bagged by Denmark, Thailand and Belize. The other child-friendly destinations in this prestigious league include New York City, Hawaii, Prague, Italy and Iceland.
The World Travel Mart that was held from 4-7 November 2013 attracted a huge crowd of visitors and delegates. Some of the dignitaries who visited the WTM Kerala pavilion that had been themed on the Ayurveda included Jonty Rhodes, the former South African international cricket player and brand ambassador for South African Tourism.
“The intensity of travel in India could put you off taking a trip here with family, but Kerala is a family-friendly version, more laid back than other regions, greener, slower paced. There are also lots of national parks for elephant spotting, palm fringed beaches and boat trips along the lush canals of the backwaters,” The Lonely Planet said.
The award function which was held in London has a special significance for Kerala considering the fact that Britain is one of the most important markets for Kerala tourism industry, Kerala had recorded a footfall of over 1.5 lakh tourists from Britain last year.
The coveted award was received from the Lonely plant by the Kerala Tourism director S. Harikishore. “With the British economy registering the fastest growth in the last three years in the previous quarter, the mood at the World Travel Mart hosted by London was upbeat” opined Harikishore.
The Kerala delegation included 12 co-exhibitors from the hospitality segment of the state. The annual event of the WTM, London is feted as one of the premium most travel and tourism events in the world. Over 5,000 exhibitors from 184 countries and different regions attended this year’s WTM.
Kannur in Kerala gets the rare distinction of being the first district in India where every family owns a piece of land.
“It is a historic step. Every family of landless poor in the district is going to get three cents of land for building a house,” Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said while declaring Kannur as India’s first landless-free district.
He urged all states to emulate the example of Kerala in distribution of land, saying it requires “political will and hard decisions”.
The ambitious project has already chalked out the list of beneficiaries who will get state and central government aid to construct houses under Indira Awaas Yojana.
Though the national land reform policy stipulates that every landless person should be provided 10 cents of land to construct a house, that allocation was not possible in Kerala due to shortage of available land in the state.
Considering the tough task for the state administration to spot adequate land, this project becomes a laudable effort, which will indeed make Kerala a role model for other states in the country.
The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall will be on a 9 day trip to India starting November 6, which will also include a stopover in Kerala. The royal guests will start their Kerala tour on Nov 11 with their arrival in Kochi, according to the schedule provided by the British High Commission in New Delhi.
The royal couple will make a visit to the Kerala Folklore Museum and Theatre in Kochi and also watch a demonstration of traditional dance forms of the state. They will next join urban planners and city dignitaries to view the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) marking the participation of Kochi in the Future Cities project. The couple is also scheduled to attend a reception for civic and business leaders hosted by Kerala Governor Nikhil Kumar.
The next day, the royal guests will visit the Vazhachal Forest Range and the elephant corridor and see the elephant conservation measures being adopted. They will also meet the local community and the WWF outreach workers. On Nov 14 Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles will visit the Jewish Synagogue in Kochi where they will meet the community members besides getting a traditional Jewish prayer of blessing. A trip to the Mattancherry Palace Museum will be their last item in their Kerala tour itinerary.