Kerala’s Tourism Minister, Mr. P A Mohamed Riyas, announced plans to develop a comprehensive master plan, named ‘Mission 2030,’ for the tourism sector in the coming year.
Speaking at a seminar on tourism as part of Keraleeyam, Mr. Riyas revealed that this master plan would encompass policies and recommendations aimed at increasing tourism’s contribution to the state’s GDP from its current 12 percent to 20 percent. Regarding dry days, the Minister stated that a decision would be made after discussions with the Excise Minister.
Mr. Riyas emphasized that in 2024, Kerala Tourism’s primary focus would be to attract private investment on a larger scale, acknowledging that the government alone cannot achieve the goal of elevating the state’s global tourism presence.
He further stressed the need for rapid decentralization within the tourism sector to ensure that the entire state benefits from tourism. Mr. Riyas pointed to the upcoming two-day Tourism Investors Meet scheduled for November 16 as a crucial step in this direction, providing a platform for discussing new ideas and opportunities with investors.
The Minister highlighted the importance of increasing private investments in the tourism sector through partnerships between the cooperative sector, individuals, and the government. He cited the Glass Bridge at Vagamon as an example of a successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model and stressed the need to fully exploit the potential of such models.
Mr. Riyas also announced that Heli tourism and Cruise tourism would be developed in partnership with private players in the upcoming year. Additionally, the 132-year-old Feroke Bridge across the Chaliyar River, following renovation, will be inaugurated in 2024. Work on another bridge at Aluva is set to commence in 2024, with both projects being implemented in cooperation with the public and private sectors.
The ‘Kerala Model’ of tourism development, which emphasizes sustainability and inclusivity, was commended by Shri Riyas for setting an example for the world.
The Minister also discussed the achievements and initiatives of Kerala Tourism in recent years, such as the successful promotion of trendy attractions like the Vagamon Glass Bridge, Floating Bridge, Cinema Tourism, and Caravan Tourism to sustain tourism inflow post-pandemic.
Citing Wayanad as an example, he noted a substantial increase in domestic tourists, with impressive revenue growth over the years.
Mr. Riyas praised the contributions of the Kerala Travel Mart Society (KTM) and other stakeholders in the tourism sector, along with the global recognition of the State Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM).
Tourism Secretary Mr. Biju. K IAS revealed that the tourism sector contributes 10 percent to the state’s GDP and supports around 15 lakh jobs.
Highlighting the sector’s impressive growth, Mr. Biju noted the substantial revenue generated in 2022 from the sector, as well as foreign exchange earnings and direct earnings from domestic tourists.
State Planning Board Member Mr. Santhosh George Kulangara emphasized the importance of making each village and individual consumers of tourism by launching projects.
International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Director Dr. Harold Goodwin, who joined the seminar via videoconferencing, praised Kerala’s remarkable example in the responsible tourism sector.
Kerala Tourism Additional Director (General) Mr. S Prem Krishnan IAS was also present. University of Kerala Senior Professor in Management, IMK, Dr K S Chandrasekar was the moderator.
KITTS Director Dr. Dileep Madhav; State Coordinator of Responsible Tourism Mission Mr. K Rupeshkumar; CGH Earth Co-founder Mr. Jose Dominic; Past President of KTM Mr. Baby Mathew; Muddy Boots MD Mr. Pradeep Murthy; Kottakkal Arya Vaidyasala Managing Trustee Mr. P M Varier; and Paithrukam Hospitality Group MD Mr. Sajeev Kurup; were also present at the seminar.
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