Kerala Tourism went unrepresented at the partnership meet organised for the first time in Raipur, the capital of Chattisgarh, on Tuesday.

No official from the Tourism Department was present to lead the 30-odd sellers from Kerala and in the one-day meet organised to market destinations and products in tier-two cities in the country. “Kerala Tourism is organising the meet in Raipur for the first time and it is sad that no official from the department turned up,” a tour operator from the State told The Hindu over telephone from Raipur.

The State Tourism Secretary and Tourism Director had been attending the various road shows. They also lead State delegations, comprising officials and tourism entrepreneurs, during meets like this, sources said.

State Tourism Secretary V. Venu had moved to the Centre on deputation as Joint Secretary, Culture; and Tourism Director Rani George had gone for training.

Kerala Tourism Development Corporation Managing Director K.G. Mohanlal had been given additional charge of Tourism Director. “It has come at a time when the travel trade was expecting a steady flow of tourists from Chhattisgarh to the State. The officials should have been present at Raipur to lead the delegation and project the destination and to interact with the media,” a tour operator said. The State had decided to market the destination following the over 18 per cent growth in domestic tourist arrivals last year. The encouraging response from tier-two cities where partnership meets were held last year also prompted the tourism authorities to focus more on the domestic market.

The partnership meets comprise a business session, screening of films on destinations and products, an interactive session, a media interaction, and showcasing of cultural elements. Travel trade source said the manager of a KTDC resort from Kottayam district was asked to do the presentation at Raipur in the absence of tourism officials. The travel trade is also apprehensive about the likely non-representation of Tourism officials at the partnership meet to be held in Indore on September 15. Partnership meets were held in the Gwalior, Bhubaneswar, Mysore, and Coimbatore this year.

Keywords: Kerala Tourism