The heavy rains and floods which hit the state last month left the tourism industry in a state of discrete and shocked which happens to be a major contributor to the economy of Kerala and a significant source of Foreign Exchange Earnings (FEE). Due to the booking cancellations, the private sector has recorded a loss of Rs. 500cr in August and expecting to have another Rs. 1000cr loss in the month of September.
However, with the restoration work going on in full swing (most of the tourist places are operational at the moment) the Department of Tourism with the support of Government of Kerala has come up with a 12 Points Action Plan to further expedite the growth of tourism through new campaigns and road shows to be organised across the globe.
According to Rani George IAS, Secretary Tourism, Government of Kerala, the Department of Tourism has conducted a Tourism Readiness Survey to know the current situation of the road connectivity and hotel operations. Information received from all the districts shows that the restoration work has been done at most of the tourist places and 90 percent regions of the state are back to business and ready to receive the guest. Out of remaining 10 percent 8 will be done in a month time and rest 2 may take a longer time.
Elaborating more on the 12 Points Action Plan initiative, Rani George said: “We required an action plan to overcome what happened in Kerala due to the heavy rain and floods. We wanted the tourism stakeholders of the state should start getting tourist from the season (starting this month) as they were getting before. So, what we decided to keep readies our Kerala Tourism; first and foremost was restoring the connectivity to the various destinations. With the support of Public Works Department it was done at all the tourist places in a time bound manner.”
“We need to have an aggressive marketing campaign to bring back Kerala Tourism to the World Tourism Map. The department is coming up with market specific campaigns and doing separate branding in its source markets. We will be doing our social and digital media campaigns in a different manner especially after the floods. The message that Kerala Is Safe has to go across the world that is one major thing for us. We will be doing our print campaigns in different cities of the country as well,” she informed.
“We will be doing a big social media campaign along with the print and electronic mediums. Apart from this, we have planned to conduct ‘Responsible Tourism’ to benefit the community in the flood affected areas. Also, improving the infrastructure in these destinations is a part of this action plan,” she further informed.
Apart from the campaigns, press meets is another way to getting across the public. Delhi and Ahmedabad have already covered while Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Kolkata will be done in coming months. A presentation for inbound tour operator was conducted in Vishakhapatnam in first half of this month.
Kerala Tourism will be participating at all the international and national tourism fairs with its private stakeholders. “We will make our presence felt in a big way at World Travel Market London. We are planning to organise a press conference at WTM to announce to the world that ‘Kerala is Back’,” adds Rani George.
Along with the Ayurveda, Kerala Tourism has started promoting Yoga as well and prepared the packages. Apart from its important source markets – Europe, USA, Middle East and East Asia, the state is extending its presence in Australia and Japan as well. “One major market we have not been able to do much more is China which has a huge potential of outbound tourism. We need to promote our state in this market for which we are doing a proper planning to get our deserving number of share from China,” concludes Rani George.