`State needs centres of excellence'

Staff Reporter

Call to improve tourism infrastructure

Annual tourism growth rate set to touch 10 per cent `Good infrastructure a prerequisite for tourist arrivals' `Health tourism has great potential'

KOCHI: Kerala needs institutions which are centres of excellence, and opening more number of institutions alone will not do, Minister for Fisheries and Sports Dominic Presentation said here on Friday.

He was speaking after inaugurating a seminar on `Tourism: scope and possibilities in Kerala,' organised by the Chavara Institute of Management Studies. Mr. Presentation also awarded the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies certificate to the institution.

"Instead of focussing just on academics, institutions must focus on other aspects as well," he said.

State tourism growth

The State should make best use of its natural beauty, and local resources, for tourism promotion.

The annual growth rate of tourism in the State was expected to touch 10 per cent this season, he added.

K.V. Thomas, MLA, who presided over the function, said tourism should lead to betterment of society. "Availability of good infrastructure is a prerequisite for tourist arrivals. No tourist will be willing to be put up in dirty, mosquito-infested places. Roads and footpaths should be maintained well. Water and power too have to be made available."

He said that from the golden triangle comprising the Agra-Jaipur-Delhi sector, tourists had begun flocking to Kerala. This should be sustained by offering quality services.

The State had plenty of potential in farm and health tourism. Even dentistry had good potential, Mr. Thomas added.

George J. Pulickal, executive director of the Chavara institute, said that from an earnest beginning with 14 students 10 years ago, the institute now had five branches in the State.