Amid fears of adverse impact of Dubai debt crisis on its economy, Kerala is hosting the third edition of the 45-day Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF), an event aimed at blending trade with tourism.

More than 5,000 small and big traders, some of them with offer of mega prizes up to 40 kg of gold, have registered for the event organised by the Tourism and Industries Departments, beginning on Tuesday.

General Convener of GKSF and Principal Secretary, Industries, T Balakrishnan said the government expects a 15 per cent increase in sales in this edition.

“However, the government is worried and cautious this time due to developments in Dubai,” he told PTI.

He said the plan was to achieve the goal of transforming Kerala into an International shopping destination along with tourism within five years.

Home and tourism minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said the aim of the festival was not limited to merely encouraging tourists to buy products, but to mix tourism with trade.

“The festival will prove to be good step forward in ensuring that Kerala reclaimed its leadership position in the global tourism and trade map,” he said.

Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said KGSF would give a fillip to the growth of the state.

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