Staff Reporter

KOCHI: A unique public-private partnership in the State's tourism sector came in for appreciation at the tourism stakeholders' meet held in Kochi on Monday.

The participants said that the partnership had worked to make the State one of the most sought after tourist destinations in the world. Addressing the gathering, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishan said that Kerala had become a model for tourism promotion in the country.

"On its part, the Government has been perfecting its role as a facilitator and catalyst. I am keen that we carry forward this spirit of cooperation through continuous consultation and dialogue with private players. Ultimately, the success of tourism depends on the receptiveness of the host community."

"People of each tourist locale have a role in tourism development. The perceived returns should be extended to the host community by procuring commodities from them, providing employment opportunities etc... ."

He said that tourism had lot more scope for growth in the State. Kerala needed to leverage its brand equity as a successful tourism destination and attract more investment.

"The culturally rich and pristine Malabar can be a key area of focus. We have to create an enabling environment to unleash the potential of entrepreneurs."

"But the pursuit of success should not be at the cost of Kerala's cultural ethos. I believe that the success of Kerala Tourism ultimately depends on how successfully we showcase the rich bounty we have to the outside world while preserving and sustaining it."