Kerala Tourism received four awards at the National Tourism Awards 2013-14 held in New Delhi on Saturday. Private entrepreneurs from the state won sic awards, making Kerala’s share of honours ten. Tourism minister A P Anil Kumar and secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao received the awards from President Pranab Mukherjee.
The minister, after receiving the award, said that the state had submitted before the Centre a multi-project proposal worth Rs 568 crore to boost the it’s tourism profile. The state had also sought the clearance of a Rs 283-crore pilgrim tourism circuit with focus on Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple, a coastal tourism project of Rs 108 crore, an eco-tourism project of Rs 77 crore (of which Rs 52 crore is for Vagamon-Thekkady and the rest Rs 25 crore for Gavi in Pathanamthitta) and Rs 100 crore for Nila tourism project.
The tourism department was recognized for its excellence in publishing initiatives in foreign language (German brochure kit ‘Eat Shop Trek’), best tourism film (The Great Backwaters of Kerala), most innovative use of information technology in tourism and successful responsible tourism project (Thekkady initiative).
Kochi has become the first city in India to be a member of Beijing-headquartered World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF) Council, with the Kerala Tourism Department accepting the Council’s invitation to join its league of leading tourism cities across the world.
Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany handed over the membership acceptance document to Chinese Ambassador to India Le Yucheng at a function here today in the presence of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson, Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao and Tourism Director P I Sheik Pareeth.
State Principal Secretary for IT and Industries P H Kurian and Former Secretary T Balakrishnan also attended the function.
Speaking on the occasion, Yucheng said the two regions need to explore the possibilities for partnerships in culture, sports and tourism as there are many striking similarities between their cultures, like the cuisine, martial arts and snake and dragon boat races.
The Chinese Ambassador also expressed interest in bringing investment from China to Kerala’s tourism sector, especially for construction of an entertainment city and an oceanarium.
He urged the government to convene a meeting of tour operators of both countries while agreeing to support Kerala’s efforts to increase inflow of Chinese tourists to the state. He also responded positively to Kerala’s request to facilitate chartered flights from China to the state.
Chandy said the state government would send a detailed proposal to Beijing on various investment possibilities in Kerala, including in the tourism sector.