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US, Europe crisis lead Kerala Tourism to focus on Australia

Kerala Tourism Road-Shows held in Melbourne, Sydney

Melbourne, Oct 31: The Kerala Tourism authorities organised a road show in Melbourne and Sydney in Australia, the sixth biggest tourism market, to attract more visitors from Down Under to the coastal state in India.

Representatives from both private and public sector from the state participated in the road shows last week, which came after a gap of two years.

Around 70 leading wholesalers, tour operators and travel agents from these two cities were satisfied with the offerings from the Kerala Tourism honchos.

Silkair ontributed a free ticket to Kerala at a lucky draw held at the end of the session during the Kerala Tourism Melbourne road-show
Silkair contributed a free ticket to Kerala for a lucky draw held during the Melbourne road-show

The drive supported by the state’s travel trade, included

  • screening of the much-acclaimed promotional film ‘Your Moment is Waiting’;
  • business-to-business interactions; and
  • interactive sessions in the road shows held at Sydney and Melbourne.

Australia accounted for 35,244 foreign tourist arrivals in 2015, making it the fifth biggest market; yet accounting for just 5.59 percent of the total foreign arrivals.

The current strategy of Kerala Tourism, especially in the face of economic crisis in Europe and the US, is to focus on the emerging markets like Australia and Scandinavia by flipping its unique tourism products.

“Both the road shows were successful in giving a slice of Kerala to the trade members in these cities.

“We hope that the efforts will be translated into business in the coming times as the trade members from Kerala and Australia were engaged in fruitful discussions,” said Mr. T. K. Manoj Kumar, Secretary, Tourism.

Upon keen interest from stakeholders for tourism and business opportunities, the state government reiterated its commitment to provide necessary logistic support to trade partners.

“Kerala is already a well known brand in Australia.

“Upon seeing the surge in tourist arrivals from this lucrative emerging market, both the government and tourism stakeholders were keen to better explore and exploit the potential,” Tourism Minister, A.C. Moideen said.

“We hope our strong showing at these road shows will lead to more industry tie-ups and greater tourist footfalls…,” he said reiterating the state government’s commitment of top-down support to the sector.

“With improved air connectivity and ease of travel between the Asia-Pacific region and Kerala, there has been an impressive growth in arrivals from Down Under,” said V. Venu, Principal Secretary (Tourism), Kerala.

Lending heft to the campaign was Rakesh Malhotra, Consul of India, Melbourne, and Vinod Bahade, Deputy Consul General, Sydney, who were both chief guests at the events in their respective cities.

Targeting the emerging market in Australia, the state showed off an aggressive marketing drive with the road show, which generated immense interest among stakeholders.

Now foreign tourists to Kerala can also apply for Visa Online and get the ‘Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)’ and fly into the state directly.

Tourist Visa on Arrival (T-VoA) enabled with Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) has been introduced for tourists going to Kochi and Trivandrum from 43 countries including Australia.

Kerala is also the only state in India where two airports have the T-VoA enabled with ETA.

Shalini Singh

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