Kerala, popularly known as God’s Own Country, is the perfect holiday destination in India. From picturesque landscapes and exciting getaways to rich culture and heritage, the State has a lot to showcase. As part of its periodic outreach, Kerala Tourism brings you a 360 degree preview of India’s favorite destination – the very essence of the State, captured in one single event. The objective is to witness the rich culture, extravagant heritage, magnificent landscapes, delectable cuisine, music and art… all in one show.
Foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala during the year 2015 was 9,77,479 – an increase of 5.86% over the previous year’s figure of 9,23,366. Domestic tourist footfalls during the same period was 1,24,65,571 – recording an increase of 6.59 % over the previous year’s figure 1,16,95,411.
Foreign exchange earnings for the year 2015 was Rs. 6,949.88 Crores, registering an increase of 8.61 % over the previous year. Total tourism revenue (direct and indirect) during 2015 was Rs. 26,689.63 Crores, showing an increase of 7.25% over the previous year’s figure.
New Initiatives in God’s Own Country
The Government of Kerala has rolled out several initiatives with the aim to further boost the State’s tourism equity. Below are some of the recent (and planned) initiatives…
This was rolled out last year in order to enhance the travel experience and add to Kerala’s array of attractions. The project is intentioned to reinstate the historical and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris, situated in central Kerala. Project Muziris constitutes a series of 27 museums spread across the heritage region, between them showcasing maritime trade, lifestyle, barter system and handicrafts. Some of these museums are interactive in nature.
Muziris was once a spice city, attracting traders from across the world. Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Chinese frequented the port to buy and sell a variety of wares – mainly spices and clothes. The Muziris Heritage Project, the first of its kind in the country, is expected to turn into a major destination for cultural tourism in Kerala.
On the trail of the Spice Route
Another amazing initiative in the offing is the Spice Route Revival Project. The historic Spice Route linked the south western coast of India with Europe. Kerala’s initiative to revive and promote the two-millennia-old spice route through tourism has received a boost with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) pledging support to the venture.
Kochi Muziris Biennale
Kochi-Muziris Biennale is an international exhibition of contemporary art held in Kochi. Indian and international artists exhibit their work across a variety of mediums including film, installation, painting, sculpture, new media and performance art. Through the celebration of contemporary art from around the world, The Kochi-Muziris Biennale seeks to invoke the historic cosmopolitan legacy of the modern metropolis of Kochi and its glorious predecessor, the ancient port of Muziris. This year’s exhibition begins on December 12, 2016 and continues until March 29, 2017.
New Product offering: ECO-Adventure
Kerala Tourism will be launching a unique nature-based adventure holidays program – ECO-Adventure. The objective is to use key tourism genres – Wildlife, Hill Stations, Beaches, Backwaters, etc. – and leverage the adventure activity possibilities they offer. The ‘activities’ canvas would extend to Trekking, Camping, Rock Climbing, Jungle/ Wildlife Safaris, Bird Watching, Cycling, Kayaking, Canoeing and Paragliding.
Of course, none of this would be allowed to compromise the environment, nor the State’s flora and fauna and the rest of its rich natural legacy. The core forest areas would thus be opened to tourists without affecting the ecology in any way. Responsible Tourism all the way!
New Brand Campaign
Back in time, through an extensively thought out and consistent communications strategy, Kerala had gained immense equity. The historic ‘God’s Own Country’ positioning made the state a global brand.
Nevertheless, a brand has to keep evolving. With tourists always looking for something new, a sound strategy going forward is to promote the State’s lesser-explored and virgin destinations. Accordingly, a new brand campaign has been developed and will soon be launched under the aegis of Kerala Tourism. Promoting the unseen experience of God’s Own Country, the trans-media campaign primarily targets high-potential markets such as Europe, Asia, Middle East, North and North East of India.
Dovetailing this brand push is the possibility of developing transport options including charter flights, charter trains and tourists bogies in trains from major markets in India. The brand value of Kerala Tourism is on the threshold of another major boost.
Keeping up with the Virtual World
In a short span of time, Kerala Tourism has made a mark in the digital world. Kerala Tourism has over 1.2 million Facebook fans, 69,400-plus Twitter followers, in excess of 6000 Instagram followers, over 500 Pinterest followers and 700-plus Foursquare followers. The Kerala Tourism YouTube channel boasts 7,189 subscribers and 8,578,373 views. There are also more than 250 articles on Kerala, Backwaters and Ayurveda published in guest blogs.
Latest Awards and Accolades
Kerala Tourism was conferred the inaugural Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) CEO Challenge 2015 award for the top emerging destination in the world. The award was in recognition of the pioneering Responsible Tourism initiative undertaken in Thekkady by Kerala Tourism.
The brand was also bestowed the top Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Award for heritage conservation, in an honour that highlights the state’s trendsetting efforts in reinventing the millennia-old Spice Route heritage.
In addition to these, Kerala Tourism also bagged the National Tourism Award for the Best Rural Tourism Project in Kumarakom; ITB Berlin – Golden City Gate Award (Print Campaign); Best Family & Best Value for Money Destination… and many more.
The marketing initiatives for the year 2016-17 are aimed at promoting value-for-money, off-season packages, targeting key cities such as Gurgaon, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Lucknow, Indore, Raipur, Nagpur, Nashik, Vadodara and Ahmedabad.
The state aims at being part of International trade fairs such as JATA Travel Mart Japan , FITUR Madrid, ITB Berlin, MITT Moscow, Vakantiebeurs Utrecht, WTM London, ITB Asia, , PATA Travel Mart Jakarta.
and Road shows at Osaka – Japan Kuala Lumpur, Sydney, Melbourne, Dublin – Ireland , Stockholm -Sweden, Munich- Germany, Lyon- France, Rome – Italy, Prague- Czech , Budapest – Hungary, Barcelona -Spain , St.Petersburg -Russia, Kiev- Ukraine.