Kochi, Sep 22 (UNI) Kerala government is chalking out a special strategy to attract domestic tourists in collaboration with the Kerala Travel Mart and the state tourism department, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishan said today.
Speaking to reporters on the second day at the KTM, which marked a flury of activities, he said the Mart had been a grand success in terms of participation from the industry world over.
A total of 1,588 delegates, including 573 from abroad attended the four-day meet, where 315 sellers exhibited their stalls. This included 16 ayurveda centres, five speciality hospitals, 26 home stays and 14 houseboats.
About 50 countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, China, South Africa, Brazil, the US and Kuwait participiated in the Mart, which is a record compared to the earlier four editions organised by the KTM in association with the Kerala Tourism Board.
The Minister said, in the past, there has been significant growth in the sector and efforts are being made to promote responsible tourism practices in the state.
He said Kerala has become the prime tourist destination in the country and there was a 22 per cent growth in domestic tourism in the state last year.
Industries Minister Elamaram Kareem said the Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) would provide loan assistance to a maximum of Rs 20 crore for starting new ventures in the sector and five specific ventures have already been identified. He said tourism and tourism industry is poised to play a key tole in the development of the state.
Appreciating the efforts of the KTM, the Minister said it is the only event which has been focusing on tourism.
KTM President said the industry has created one million job opportunities in the state that has earned Rs 12,000 crore last year.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Mart and the next one will be held in 2010 in Kochi.
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