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Kerala Tourism makes further inroads in China

Wednesday, May 25, 2016,11:59 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Tourism has showcased the best of ‘God’s Own Country’ at the Beijing International Tourism Expo (BITE) 2016, one of the world’s most prestigious travel and trade fairs held on May 20-22.

It was for the second time Kerala was featured at the annual forum, which brings together major players in the hugely lucrative Chinese outbound tourism market, widely considered the world’s largest by volume, Kerala Tourism said in a statement here today.

Led by Kerala Tourism Director U V Jose, the team saw judicious representation from the state’s leading hoteliers, Ayurvedic resorts and tour operators. According to Jose, the state aspires to augment the strong destination pull it already enjoys.

The modern traveller in general, and the Chinese visitor in particular, is always expanding his/her horizons, seeking out ever newer experiences, he said. The objective of such tourism facilitation initiatives and participation in such high-profile industry events is to highlight the wondrous possibilities on offer in Kerala, the official added.

To this end, the expansive Kerala pavilion sought to renew the focus on the states rich legacy of martial arts, holistic medical traditions, the beauty of its backwaters and its snakeboat races. As was the case last year, the display was an instant hit with the hosts and the Kerala stand saw an impressive number of footfalls as also inquiries  particularly about Ayurveda.

It speaks to the successful branding and marketing of Kerala that most of the visitors to the state pavilion knew about our Ayurveda, Kalaripayattu and our backwaters, Jose said. Bandaru Wilsonbabu, First Secretary of the Indian Embassy in Beijing, visited the Kerala pavilion and offered the missions full support in help promote the state in China.

Tourists from China are considered the highest-spending in the world. In 2014, Chinese tourists to India numbered nearly two lakh. The same period saw an increase of Chinese tourist inflow to Kerala.

Following a visit to Kochi last year by the Chinese Ambassador to India, the city became the first in the country to gain membership to the Beijing-headquartered World Tourism Cities Federation Council, a 135-member league of leading tourism cities from across the globe.

Foreign tourist arrivals to Kerala in 2015 have been provisionally tallied at nearly 9.8 lakh over the previous year’s figure of roughly 9.2 lakh.

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