The years spent by Kerala Tourism searching for a brand ambassador to promote its tourism products are nearing an end with Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan expressing willingness to become the brand ambassador of God's Own Country.
The actor's willingness was conveyed to Minister for Tourism and Home Kodiyeri Balakrishnan in a letter.
Mr. Bachchan, who is also the brand ambassador of Gujarat, said he would like to go ahead with the offer extended to him by the State he loves.
Mr. Bachchan expressed his willingness in an interview to a Malayalam satellite channel during his visit to the State recently to present an award to Oscar-winning sound technician Resul Pookutty.
Official sources said Mr. Balakrishnan had written to the actor about Kerala Tourism's readiness to hold discussions with him. On the basis of a letter from Mr. Bachchan to depute a Kerala Tourism official to work out the details, the Minister wrote back thanking the actor for the gesture.
The Minister's office is in touch with the actor's office in Mumbai.
“The Minister has deputed the Director of Tourism M. Sivasankar to hold talks with Mr. Bachchan and work out the details. The meeting will take place next week probably,” official sources told TheHindu.
The gesture has come at a time when Kerala is concentrating on domestic tourists to overcome the drop in the foreign tourist arrivals on account of global economic recession.
In 2006, the tourism authorities had unsuccessfully tried to rope in Mr. Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai as brand ambassadors. The attempt was made when the Mr. Bachchan arrived in the hill resort of Munnar for shooting in Ram Gopal Varma's ‘Nishabd.'
Over the years, Kerala Tourism has roped in Malayalam actor Jayaram as brand ambassador for the Vazhiyooram project and hindi television actors like Smriti Irani, known as “Amitabh Bachchan of TV,” and “Nine p.m. girl” Mona Vasu to promote tourism destinations among the upmarket clientele among the domestic tourists.
The State also unsuccessfully tried to rope in action hero Jackie Chan.