God’s own country beckons tourists

Madhur Tankha
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Artistes performing at the ‘Kerala Superhit’ cultural show in New Delhi.— Photo: V. Sudershan
Artistes performing at the ‘Kerala Superhit’ cultural show in New Delhi.— Photo: V. Sudershan

To lure domestic travellers, the Kerala Government has announced that it is rolling out two ambitious projects which have been designed to provide an enriching travelling experience.

In fact, the Government is pulling out all stops to ensure that the two projects are completed at the earliest.

“The Seaplane project seeks to improve the last mile connectivity by air to different destinations across the State. Work on infrastructure development has already commenced. On the other hand, Project Muziris will enhance the historic and cultural significance of the legendary port of Muziris. It will create awareness and increase understanding of the cultural distinctiveness of the place. We plan to set up 25 museums in a year’s time. No doubt it is a Herculean task but we will rope in prominent architects and officials from the Archaeological Survey of India. Cultural heritage which gives a glimpse into the life of locals of Muziris will be showcased in these museums through artefacts,” says Tourism Information Officer Nandakumar K. P.

Mr. Nandakumar wants the Union Aviation Ministry to start economically-priced flights from Delhi to Kerala. “Geographically, Delhi is far from the coastal boundaries of Kerala but the flight operating between the two States takes only four hours to cover the distance. Delhiites generally prefer travelling to Kerala. For Malayalis residing in Delhi visiting their homeland is a top priority. Twenty-five per cent of domestic tourists are from Delhi. But we want to woo those tourists who are reluctant to travel down South. Last year, the total revenue from tourism touched Rs.21,125 crore as compared to Rs.19,037 crore in 2011.”

Noting that Kerala’s unique selling point is its composite culture, the Tourism Information Officer says: “This diversity is our strength. We want visitors, especially those from the North, to understand how people of different communities coexist in a congenial atmosphere. We will provide them a glimpse of how Muslims, who constitute 25 to 30 per cent of the population, follow their customs. We plan to take them around to the Cheraman mosque, which is the oldest mosque in Asia and has Malayali architecture. We also seek to acclimatise them with unique Hindu temples and aesthetically pleasing churches.”

Mr. Nandakumar said the recent incidents of attack on foreign tourists in the country have also put Kerala Tourism on alert. “The local police have been directed to escort tourists around. Local entrepreneurs and employees have been instructed to ensure that tourists are not cheated and feel safe and comfortable during their stay.”



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