Night shopping in Kochi will be on from December 20 to January 1.

Care must be taken to promote and sell Kerala's ethnic products through the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, veteran actor Mammootty has said. The fifth edition of the festival was inaugurated in Kochi on Thursday.

This is because most shops in the State sell produce from other States and countries. New technologies must be adopted to manufacture products that the State is skilled at, he said.

Earlier, inaugurating the 45-day-long festival, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that the Department of Tourism-Kerala, the organisers of the festival, is promoting pilgrim tourism too based on the preference to destinations shown by tourists.

In his address, Mayor Tony Chammany said that the GKSF has given a new concept to shopping, by adding a festive tag to it.

“We need to promote ‘swadeshi' goods too, so that the local and domestic industry gets a boost. Night shopping during the festival is another attraction,” he said.

Cultural programmes added to the gaiety of the inaugural function.

Kerala was the first state in India to promote such a shopping festival on a grand scale. Small scale entrepreneurs and manufactures too get an opportunity to showcase their products, without the involvement of middlemen in the festival.

Shoppers can enjoy good discounts through scratch and win coupons and also test their luck through daily and weekly lucky draws.

Over the 45-day period, they would get their share from the 101 kg of gold on offer. This year, the festival will provide a 100 per cent VAT refund for consumers from outside the State who shop using their credit cards.

Night shopping in Kochi will be on from December 20 to January 1.

There is a proposal to introduce more low-floor buses and pre-paid autorickshaws in the city during the festival days, to attract more shoppers.

The official closure of the festival would be held in Malappuram on January 21.

A road show of the festival was flagged off here on Monday, aimed at creating awareness about the shopping festival..

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