Kerala participating in JATA Tabihaku Travel Showcase in Japan
Armed with the newly launched Tourist Visa on Arrival (T-VoA) facility, Kerala Tourism has taken steps to woo foreign tourists from 11 countries who can get tourist visa on arrival at the Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi international airports.
The marketing initiative was launched by showcasing God’s Own Country at Japan’s largest travel fair, JATA Tabihaku Travel Showcase 2013, at the Tokyo Big Sight.
Kerala is participating for the first time at JATA travel show and it comes close on the launch of the T-VoA facility at the two airports, making the State a gateway to the country along with the four metros.
Kerala has unfolded a slice of its bewitching natural beauty and attractive travel products at the three-day event that started on September 12. The participation in the Japan travel show is part of the new marketing strategy to further tap the vast potential of Japan, which is emerging as a key market for the burgeoning tourism industry. In 2012, as many as 11,500 tourists visited the State from Japan — a nearly 60 per cent growth in five years.
Expressing hope that the implementation of the T-VoA facility will attract more people from Japan, Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar, who led the delegation, said there had been an increasing interest among the Japanese in Ayurveda and wellness. “Being the home of Ayurveda, Kerala is sure to attract visitors from Japan,” he said.
Kerala has also become more accessible for Japanese visitors with air connectivity increasing multi-fold in recent times. Silk Air, Air Asia, and Tiger Airways already operate services to Kerala and Malaysian Airlines commenced operations from the first week of September.
Secretary Suman Billa, who was also part of the six-member delegation that had key private players of the tourism industry, said Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines were keen on partnering with Kerala Tourism.
Kerala Tourism is planning road shows and familiarisation trips for tour operators and travel writers from key cities of Japan as a follow-up initiative, he added.
Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa, Ambassador of India to Japan, visited Kerala’s pavilion and expressed her pleasure over its presence at JATA for the first time.