A Tourism Board will be set up to tap new markets and to promote tourism in the international and national level and an Eastern corridor Eco-circuit will be developed for exploiting the tourism potential of the Malabar region, Minister for Finance, K. M. Mani, has said.

Presenting the budget 2012-13 in the Assembly on Monday, the Finance Minister said the Government will give emphasis for the creation of infrastructure facilities in the tourist destinations in the 12 Five Year Plan and a comprehensive tourism policy for the overall development of tourism sector had been formulated.

The tourism sector of the state had been able to generate 12 lakh employment opportunities, attract investment of Rs. 1000 crore, obtain income of Rs. 17,000 crore and earn foreign exchange to the tune of Rs. 3,797 crore as per the figures in 2010. Mr. Mani said a sum of Rs. 15 crore had been made available in the budget for the creation of the Tourism Board.

As part of the aim to make Muziris as the main tourist destination of the state, the Finance Minister said a sum of Rs. 7 crore had been allocated for the Muziris Heritage Project. Thalaserry Heritage project will get Rs. 2 crore. A sum of Rs. 53 crore had been allocated in the budget for improving the conditions and to create infrastructure facilities in tourist destinations. Bekal, Wayanad, Kochi, Kumarakom and Kovalam will get Rs. 5 crore for developing these prime tourist destinations into international level.

The Government will commence new tourist destinations with the aim of creating employment opportunities and attracting investment. A sum of Rs. 3 crore had been provided in the budget for the kerala Garbage-free Tourism Centre. Hope-on Hope-off services will be kicked off from select tourist destinations for enabling the tourists to see all the destinations.

The Finance Minister announced that the Responsible Tourism will be expanded to more areas and a sum of Rs. 2 crore had been allocated so that the local community should get the benefit from tourism.

Nila tourism project will be implemented and a sum of Rs. 10 lakhs had been allocated. Muruganmala, Thnagalpara and Kurishumala, nearby temples and places of interest will be included in the proposed Comprehensive Pilgrim Tourism Circuit with Wagamon as the main centre. Mr. Mani said a sum of Rs. 25 lakh had been included for the tourism circuit.

The Finance Minister said a bird sanctuary will be developed in Munderi panchayat in Kannur district that attracts large number of migratory birds. A Pilgrim mega tourism project will be implemented in Harippad this year and a sum of Rs. 20 lakh had been provided in the budget.

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