Staff Reporter

KOCHI: The Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, a one-of-its kind event being held in all district headquarters in the State, kicked off on Saturday. Planned as an annual event, it will be held from December 1 this year to January 15, 2008 this time, coinciding with the Christmas and New Year season.

It is a joint venture of the departments of Tourism, Industries and Commerce, Local Self Government, Taxes and Cultural Affairs. The aim is to hew out a space for Kerala in the international trade circuit. During the festival, shops and trade centres will offer discounts, to woo people within the State, NRIs and tourists.

The district-level inauguration was carried out by PWD Minister Mons Joseph. Consumers will get coupons, which can be used to win prizes and also for entry to places where variety entertainments have been organised.