The tourism arena in Kerala will receive added support from the government with the state budget 2018 setting aside close to INR 381 crore towards development and promotion of the sector. The budgetary provisioning is INR 36 crore more than the INR 345 crore that was set aside last year.
Presenting the Budget in the Kerala Assembly recently, Dr Thomas Isaac, minister for finance, said, “The state government will focus more on conservation and preservation of heritage monuments in the coming financial year.” The finance minister set aside INR 82.50 crore towards marketing of the tourism sector. Lauding Kerala Tourism’s nine international awards last year, Dr Isaac said the government would accord priority to conservation of heritage monuments in the state as part of its plans towards tourism development. An amount to the tune of INR 40 crore has been set aside in this regard. The Muziris project, which has been progressing at a slow pace will soon be completed in a period of two years. Plans are also afoot to include destinations such as Thalassery, Ponnani and Beypore in the tourism map.
The government also proposes to bring boat races under the league competitions, and will be supported with an amount of INR 10 crore. As per Dr Isaac’s proposals for the fiscal, the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC ) would get INR 7.92 crore, while the Kerala Tourism Infrastructure will get INR 1.83 crore. The budget also earmarks an amount of INR 3.30 crore for the Bekal Resort Development Corporation.
Dr Thomas Isaac’s budget has also set aside INR 16 crore towards organising cultural events such as the Kochi Muziris Biennale, Nishagandhi Dance and Music festivals, Onam celebrations, Thrissur Pooram, Theyyam festivals, boat races and others.