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June 08, 2012

Kerala Tourism To Fast-Track Clearance Of Tourism Projects Worth Over Rs 10 Crore

Announces new tourism policy for 2012-13

08 June 2012

Mumbai: Kerala Tourism yesterday announced that it would introduce fast-track clearance of tourism projects with investment above Rs 10 crore. The new clearance system would be integrated with the existing clearance system. The system is a part of the tourism department’s new tourism policy for the year 2012-13, announced yesterday.

The policy, among other initiatives, states that Kerala Tourism will provide marketing assistance to new investors in the tourism sector. The department will devise a scheme for new investors in tour operations, homestays, serviced villas and Ayurveda centres to participate in international and national tourism promotional events for the first three years.

“The marketing assistance will be limited to one international fair and one domestic fair in a year. The department will bear 25 per cent of the travel fare and promotional materials subject to a maximum of Rs 75,000 for international fairs and Rs 50,000 for domestic fairs. New small and medium-level accommodation units of less than 30 rooms located in six northern districts viz., Kasaragod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Palakkad, and new houseboat operators operating in backwaters other than Vembanad Lake will also be eligible for the above support,” a statement said.

A Task Force for Marketing will also be constituted to continue the synergy of Private-Public Partnership in marketing and to formulate innovative marketing strategies.
The policy also envisages setting up a Kerala Convention Promotion Bureau (KCPB) with the participation of the tourism industry, to market the region aggressively in the MICE business segment.

The policy states that Kerala Tourism will target an annual average growth rate of seven per cent for the next decade to attract 180 lakh domestic tourists by 2021. The department will also market Kerala as a visible global brand with equal focus on domestic and international markets. The focus will be on strengthening existing markets and tapping new, emerging markets. The board will also aim to develop Kerala as an all-season destination.

Kerala Tourism will also create a Cabinet Committee on Tourism with the state’s Chief Minister as Chairman and Minister for Tourism as Vice Chairman to oversee the implementation of infrastructure plans which are vital to tourism sector. The policy also includes setting up a Task Force on Infrastructure Development with Minister for Tourism as the Chairman, consisting of members of the tourism industry and representative of line departments.

A task force against trafficking and abuse will also be set up to address substance abuse and child abuse in tourism in the state. The policy also includes an initiative to broad-base Responsible Tourism throughout the state. Moreover, a new system will be introduced whereby 15 per cent of the total investment, subject to a maximum ceiling of 20 lakh, will be provided for investors classified under Responsible Tourism.

The policy states that the department will form a State Tourism Advisory Committee to advise the department on destination development, tourism product development, tourism marketing strategies, HR and tourism research, to promote and enhance the state’s reputation as a premier tourism destination. The committee will have nominated members from the tourism industry stakeholders and members of various Task Forces in tourism.

Other initiatives include setting up 10 thematic museums in 10 years to showcase Kerala’s cultural heritage, an action plan to provide, directly or through partnerships with stakeholders, wayside amenties of acceptable standard in every destination, information centres at all major destinations, cities and transport nodes with IT-enabled information kiosks and trained staff to cater to the needs of visitors. The department will launch hop-on hop-off services at Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Fort Kochi, Kochi backwaters and Munnar.