Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here on Wednesday that the State government and Tourism Department are planning to modernise old trade centres in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode, in association with the respective city corporations under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Speaking after inaugurating the district level registration of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival Season - 3 Mr. Balakrishnan said there are also plans to develop permanent trade centres across the State under the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) initiative.

“Of the total outlay of Rs. 20 crore for the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival this year we are setting apart Rs. 5 crore for the development of trade centres across the State. In Thiruvananthapuram we are planning to establish a permanent trade centre near the Kanakakunnu Palace premises,” he said.

Mr. Balakrishanan said the main objective of the shopping festival is to convert Kerala into a world class shopping destination by leveraging its position as an international tourism destination and thereby, increase the revenue income of the State. This year’s GKSF will focus on promoting and finding market for ethnic products like spices, handloom and coir products, he said.

“The 45-day shopping festival held yearly from December 1 to January 15 helps in increasing the business of shops that have registered for the festival through unique prize schemes. In order to increase participation of traders and enable small-scale traders also to participate in the festival we have reduced the registration fees to Rs. 1000 this time,’’ he said.

The Minister said this year’s target was to increase trader participation by two-fold. The festival this year has also increased the number of prizes. There will be six winners for the bumper prize who will each win one kg of gold.

MLA V. Sivankutty, district collector Sanjay Kaul and GKSF director K.N. Satheesh were also present at the function.

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