Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Monday, May 26, 2003
Industry & Economy
Kerala targets Rs 1,500-cr to boost tourism
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, May 25
THE State Government is targeting an investment of approximately Rs 1,500 crore in the tourism industry over the next three years. This investment, primarily in the private sector, is expected to create some 12 lakh jobs in the State, said Mr K.V. Thomas, Minister for Tourism and Fisheries, Government of Kerala.
Addressing a press conference in the city, he said that the substantial investments in tourism around Rs 400 crore over the last two years have helped Kerala emerge as one of the most attractive destinations in the world.
Kerala Tourism's success in this regard is evident from the fact that international tourist arrivals in Kerala grew by 11.37 per cent in the last year, he pointed out.
The Government is also paying special attention to the development of tourism-related infrastructure in the State, Mr Thomas said. A sum of Rs 22 crore has been earmarked for improving the basic amenities at major tourist destinations in Kerala, he added.
As part of the tourism department's efforts to preserve and protect heritage sites and buildings in the State, the Government will shortly introduce a new legislation, the Minister said. The `Tourism Conservation and Preservation Trade Act', will be introduced during the next session of the Kerala Legislative Assembly, he declared.
Health, plantation and pilgrimage related tourism are some areas that will be targeted for special attention over the coming months, said Mr Thomas. Besides, several tourism-related projects finalised during the recently held Global Investors Meet will take shape in the next few months, he added.
Prominent among them is the amusement park at Veli in Thiruvananthapuram and the development of the Bekal beach resort near Kozhikode.
Kerala will be a `partner State' at the Dubai Festival to be held in January next year, the Minister said.
Another initiative in the tourism sector is the proposal to forge stronger ties between the tourism departments of the four South Indian states, he said. Kerala has been playing a very active role in the initiative, he declared.
On the tourism education front, the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies, is looking at establishing links with international institutions in the field, the Minister said.
The tourism department is also looking at setting up more `tourism clubs' in schools and colleges across the State as part of the effort to create more awareness about the tourism industry, he added.
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