Kochi | Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday said it was not feasible to avoid hartals in Kerala outright, but the state government would do its utmost to ensure minimal disruption to tourism activities.
Speaking at the inauguration of the ninth edition of Kerala Travel Mart, Vijayan was responding to a request for tourism-friendly policies with regard to hartals and excise regulations made by KTM Society President Abraham George in his welcome address at Le Meridien Convention Centre.
Noting that it was important that visitors leave with the best impression of Kerala, Vijayan also said mechanisms to stop open defecation was being implemented with a stated deadline of November 1 – the official start of the tourist season.
“By November 1, it is expected that the policy will be fully implemented in districts across the state,” he said, voicing the benefits of destination-friendly initiatives like waste management to the state’s tourism enterprises – known for professionalism and high quality of service delivery.
To preserve Kerala’s reputation as the Ayurveda capital, the Chief Minister said that only trained professionals should be permitted to work in such an important sector.
“The government is mooting proposals to bring out an Ayurveda training centre under its purview,” he said.
Terming KTM as a shining example of a public-private partnership, Vijayan said it was a matter of pride that an initiative started in Kerala by the government is counted among the best of its type.
He marked for special mention, the state’s award-winning ‘Responsible Tourism’ initiatives and the Muziris and Spice Route projects – two important sectors for Kerala’s tourism industry and the themes for KTM 2016.
Stating that Kerala had followed a special path in tourism, Vijayan said “Our industry is dominated by small business owners who have successfully presented the different products and experiences of Kerala before the world.KTM brings under one roof almost all tourism stakeholders in the state.” The chief minister said the main aim of KTM was to help the tourism sector raise earnings by about Rs 5,000 crore in the coming five years. In this respect, it was encouraging to hear that the Mart is expected to witness around 25,000 business meetings between buyers and sellers, he said.
“I hope that this Mart will enable buyers to make new relationships and partnerships, create new packages and bring more visitors to Kerala,” the Chief Minister said.
Tourism and Co-operation Minister A C Moideen, who , presided, said the Mart was important to distribute benefits of tourism across the state – a stated goal of the government.