Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Kerala has launched a tourism campaign targeted at domestic tourists in southern States who can drive down for a quick and quiet weekend at a destination of their choice.

‘Dream Season’ will primarily target potential tourists in Bangalore, Mangalore, Mysore, Coimbatore and Salem, besides Chennai.

Kerala Tourism Director M. Sivasankar told reporters here on Wednesday that the campaign tour operators and hoteliers in Kerala would offer attractive off-peak tariffs for a slew of packages. About 200 packages were rolled out under the scheme (details on www.keralatourism.org/ dreamseason).

‘Dream Season’ is among the new schemes that seek to spice up the relatively lean months preceding the international season kicking off in December.

Mr. Sivasankar said Kerala Travel Mart 2008, a biennial buyer-seller interface, would be held at Kochi from September 20 to 23. More than 130 sellers and 560 buyers, 200 of them international, had already booked slots. The event, he hoped, would be of interest to the trade in Tamil Nadu.

Kerala would also stage the second edition of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival from December 1 to January 1. The shopping binge was planned on the basis of an input from a tourism survey that found that travellers were spending far less than expected while visiting Kerala. Tourism managers planned to make this a marquee event, on the lines of the Dubai International Shopping Festival. The first edition set off a second shopping season after Onam in Kerala, he said. Another high point in Kerala’s tourism calendar is the occasion to play host to the Volvo Ocean Race, an international yachting competition.