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Tuesday, January 23, 2001

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Kerala wins national tourism award again

Our Bureau

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Jan. 22

KERALA has won the national award for the best performing State in tourism for the second time in a row.

Announcing this, the State Minister for Tourism, Mr E. Chandrasekharan Nair, and Principal Secretary, Mr Amitabh Kant, told presspersons here that the award was a recognition for a focused promotion strategy delineating clear-cut goals. Executed over a p eriod of the last two years, the strategy had evidently borne fruits both in terms of tourist arrivals and earnings.

The sustained campaigns covering the international and domestic markets apart, Kerala had extended its promotional activity to cover the new media as well. The official Web site, www.keralatourism.org, is loaded with comprehensive and updated information and has been acclaimed to be one of the best travel sites.

The TV commercial being aired on various satellite channels have also evoked good response. The first such to be mounted by a State, the commercial is directed by noted cinematographer Mr Santhosh Sivan. The film captures the essence of the land in all i ts vibrant colour.

All promotional material have taken the form of information-intensive travel guides which have evoked rave reviews, the Minister said.

A notable feature about the Kerala Tourism success story has been the evolving synergy in the partnership between the public and private sectors.

Initially confined to joint promotional activities, the synergy has since extended to participation in international trade fairs which culminated in the co-hosting of Kerala's very own international trade fair - the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) in Kochi. Aro und 650 ``buyers'' from 23 countries attended the mart.

Alongside with the marketing of the State as a premium destination, the Department of Tourism has also sought to improve the quality of infrastructure available at the prime tourism spots. This covers roads, wayside and waterside amenities, information c entres and signages.

Some of the major projects under different stages of development are: the Thenmala ecotourism destination, the Vagamon hill resort, the Veli tourist centre, development of Kannur, Fort Kochi and Kovalam as major destinations and consolidation of the trav el infrastructure along backwaters.

The year 2000 also saw internationally acclaimed travel magazines such as the National Geographic Traveler celebrating Kerala as one of the 50 ``must-see'' places of a lifetime, the Minister said.

State tourism awards

THE Kerala Minister for Tourism, Mr E. Chandrasekharan Nair, announced the State Tourism Awards for 1999-2000 here on Monday.

Among winners are Taj Malabar Kochi (five-star deluxe category), Taj Residency, Ernakulam (five-star), Taj Garden Retreat, Varkala (four-star), Casino Hotel, Willingdon Island (three-star), Hotel Samudra, Kovalam (two-star), Periyar House, Thekkady (sing le-star), Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom (best heritage hotel) and Somatheeram Ayurvedic Hospital and Yoga Centre, Kovalam (best ayurvedic centre).

Sita Travels, Kochi, has won the award for the tour operator having handled the maximum number of tourists while Travel Corporation, Kochi, clinched the award for maximum forex earnings.

Malabar House Residency, Fort Kochi, Far Horizon Tours, Kochi, and UVI Holidays, Mumbai, were the other winners.

Hotel directories: The Department of Tourism has brought about four publications comprising exhaustive data collected and compiled in the form of region-wise hotel/accommodation directories.

In addition to the ``Hotel Directory - 2000 South Kerala'', ``Hotel Directory - 2000 Central Kerala'' and ``Hotel Directory - North Kerala'', the Department has brought out a ``Handbook on Accommodation 2000''. All directories will be made available for reference at various tourist information offices and information centres.

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