Fewer registrations in the general category to blame
Although the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) season four has been able to attract shoppers in large numbers by creating a festive mood in major cities, the response from tier-two towns and rural areas has been lukewarm.
With the 45-day festival coming to a close on Saturday, the authorities admit that fewer registrations from shops and commercial establishments in the general category was the main reason for the not so encouraging response from rural areas.
“There were only a handful of shops which registered in this general category and it is these shops that the middle class frequent more. It was a drawback as the festival was confined to the cities and towns,” a GKSF official said.
The festival aims to promote and develop commerce, trade and the industrial sector of Kerala using the brand value of Kerala Tourism and to make the State an International shopping destination. For this, the festival has to spread to rural areas.
To woo the shoppers this year, attractive discounts and 2-g gold coins for those winning the scratch-and-win contests were offered, in addition to mega prizes. Overall, the response to the festival, an initiative of Kerala Tourism, was good.
“Till date, we have issued over 36 lakh prize coupons to the shops and other establishments that are participating in the GKSF compared to 29 lakh coupons in the last edition. This shows the overwhelming response from the shoppers,” GKSF Director K.N. Satheesh said.
Compared with the 5008 shops and other business establishments across the State that became partners last year, the registration had gone up to 6,364 in the gold, silver and general categories in the fourth season. The highest of 1,282 registration were from the electronic and home appliances section. As many as 1,133 textile shops and 1,019 jewelleries registered. Kozhikode got the highest registrations among the districts.
“Initial reports from the shops across the State reveal that the sales volume has gone up. The quantum of increase will be known only when the sales tax figures are obtained,” Mr. Satheesh said.
As part of the GKSF, a tribal festival was organised in Ernakulam, a book fair in Thiruvananthapuram, a craft mela in Malappuram and a craft fair in Iringal. A handloom fair and Khadi and coir festivals were organised at the initiative of other departments.
A 24-hour call centre was set up at the Park View building here of the Tourism Directorate for addressing shoppers' grievances. Digital draws and distribution of gold prizes through the banks were the highlights of the fourth season. As many as 101 kg of gold is being given as prize to the shoppers. The bumper prize is 1-kg gold each to three persons. Half-a-kg of gold will go to six persons each. Besides, there are airline tickets for going abroad and a car for the lucky.
The last weekly draw will be held in the newly inaugurated park of Kerala Tourism at Shanghumughom on Sunday. The draw for the bumper prize will be held that evening. A Naval orchestra will perform as part of the cultural programmes being organised on the beach side. The grand finale will be held in Alappuzha on January 29, the venue being either the beach or the stadium.