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Kerala Govt's assurance to tourism industry

Our Bureau

Thiruvananthapuram , Dec. 17

TOURISM is a high-priority area for the State Government and it will do all it can to facilitate the growth of State's tourism and hospitality industry, said Mr K.C. Venugopal, State Minister for Tourism.

Speaking at a seminar on `Kerala tourism - Scope and challenges' organised by The South India Hotels and Restaurants Association in the city, he said that the hospitality industry too must do its best to ensure that Kerala is a high-quality tourist destination. All members of the hospitality sector must work to improve quality standards, especially in areas such as waste management, he added.

Earlier, making a presentation on the challenges facing Kerala's tourism industry, Mr M.R. Narayanan, Managing Director, Poovar Island Resort, said that lower taxes on the hospitality sector, better infrastructure and establishment of a Tourism Board to coordinate activities between the Government and the private sector are some of the measures the State Government should adopt to facilitate the growth of the tourism industry.

Ensuring availability of low-cost funds for tourism projects and improving air connectivity with other tourist destinations such as Goa and Rajasthan are other areas in which the Government can help, he added.

Similarly, the hospitality industry too should look at improving standards in the sector through better in-house training programmes and also by setting up an institute to provide world-class training to people working in the tourism sector, he said. Kerala's tourism industry should also look at designing innovative tourism products and adopting new technology for marketing, he added.

Mr M.P. Purushothaman, President, The South India Hotels and Restaurants Association, appealed to the State Government to reduce the luxury tax levied on hotels in Kerala and to rework the bar licence fee structure applicable to hotels with more than three stars. He also requested the Government to consider the tourism industry on par with the manufacturing sector in matters such as fixing of electricity tariffs.

Addressing the gathering, the Kerala Finance Minister, Mr Vakkom Purushothaman, declared that tourism is vital to the development of the State. Mr E.K. Bharat Bhushan, Principal Secretary Tourism, Kerala Government and Mr T.O. Sooraj, Director, Department of Tourism, were among those who spoke on the occasion.

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