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Kerala plans 250 highway motels to woo tourists

Our Bureau

Chennai , Feb. 18

THE Kerala Government has launched `Vazhioram', a scheme to develop 250 highway motels all over the State, Mr E.K. Bharat Bhushan, Principal Secretary - Tourism, Government of Kerala, said.

He said that the Government wants people who own land along highways to participate in this scheme. Each motel would require an investment of Rs 20 lakh and would be eligible for a government subsidy of about 25 per cent or Rs 5 lakh, whichever is less. The design for the motel would be given by the Tourism Department, he said.

The road ahead for Kerala Tourism would be one of sustainable development, as the major challenge facing destination managers and policy-makers is how the environment can be preserved, he said. The new Vazhioram scheme will also receive an additional subsidy of Rs 1.5 lakh per motel for waste management, Mr Bharat Bhushan said.

The Government is also setting up a facility in Alapuzha to accommodate the 600 houseboats there. With the increase in the number of houseboats, waste disposal has become a challenge in this small town. Two waste management systems would be set up at an investment of Rs 35 lakh each, he said. These systems would ensure that the waste is not discharged into the backwaters.

He said that the Government recently introduced a Bill to create four special tourism zones, which are Munnar, a hill station; Kovalam a beach resort; Kumarakom, a backwater getaway; and Fort Kochi, a heritage destination.

Mr Bharat Bhusan said that there was a need to put these rules in to regulate sensitive zones such as Kumarakom as there was a danger of over-development. He said that it is estimated that an investment of Rs 1,000 crore is coming into a small panchayat such as Kumarakom in the next two years.

Mr Bharat Bhusan was speaking on Experiential Evangelism — The Gospel according to God's Own Country at the third edition of Brand Summit organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He said some 5000 destinations are vying for the consumer's purse.

He said that Kerala realises that it is critical to improve the customer's experience at every `touch point' and to create touch points that will enable customers sample and taste the experience that could be awaiting them.

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