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New Delhi, April 10, 2015: The ‘Visit Kerala 2015’ Initiative of Kerala Tourism was launched by the Union Minister of State for Culture (Independent Charge), Tourism (Independent Charge) and Civil Aviation, Dr. Mahesh Sharma at a function organized in New Delhi today. The campaign, to promote tourism in the state, was rolled out with the launch of an array of innovative programmes ranging from Ayurveda to adventure trips, from destination weddings to heritage tourism, from food festivals to quiz competitions.

While inaugurating the ‘Visit Kerala Initiative’, Dr. Mahesh Sharma said that Kerala has a rich potential for tourism since it abounds in natural beauty and has picturesque backwaters. The Minister said that the people of Kerala are well known for their sincerity, dedication and hospitable nature which is an essential quality of the Indian culture. It is due to this reason that Kerala can become ‘a destination’ worldwide, he said.

The Union Ministry of Tourism has an international drive to showcase tourist destinations of the country which also includes Kerala, the Minister added. The Minister assured the officials of Kerala Government that the Central Government will give full support to the State of Kerala to enable it to promote tourism in India and abroad.

Dr. Mahesh Sharma emphasized that tourism should become a means to generate revenue, promote rich cultural heritage, employment and women empowerment. Security, cleanliness and hospitality can become the strengths for boosting tourism in the country, he said. The Cleanliness Drive launched by the Hon’ble Prime Minister has gained widespread popularity and it has also been taken up by the Ministry of Tourism and by the Ministry of Culture. Similarly, the States should make all efforts to provide a safe and secure environment to the visitors. He also requested the media to send out positive messages about the country to promote tourism.

In his message on the launch of ‘Visit Kerala Initiative’ the Chief Minister, Shri Oommen Chandy said it is an ambitious initiative of the Kerala Government and he invited the people to visit Kerala during the Visit Kerala year 2015.

The Tourism Minister of Kerala state, Shri A.P. Anil Kumar, said that with the visa on arrival (VoA) facility at Kochi Airport there has been significant growth in the tourist arrivals. He said that Kerala has always given priority to the Tourism sector and is making efforts to promote the responsible tourism and encourage the participation of local communities in the tourism sector.

Addressing the gathering, Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Sh Lalit Panwar congratulated the Kerala Government and its team for this initiative. He said that more efforts should be made to target the foreign visitors to Kerala.

Senior officials of Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Ministry of Tourism of Kerala Government were also present during the launch.

As part of the campaign to showcase the state’s alluring destinations and products that justify its moniker as God’s Own Country’, Kerala Tourism will foray into new markets in China and Sri Lanka through trade fairs, road shows and familiarization tours. In addition, it will launch aggressive campaigns in traditional markets like the UK, France and Germany to woo potential travelers by holding trade fairs and road shows. Consumer fairs and familiarization trips will be introduced in upcoming markets like the US.

Leveraging the increased air connectivity, a focused Ayurveda and monsoon campaign will be conducted in the Middle East where 90 per cent of the Indian diaspora is from Kerala.

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