The corporation's spiritual quest in the neighbouring States is expected to make good the money that it had lost by shutting down 23 of its beer parlours. "Inquiries reveal that the lion's share of the pilgrims to Velanganni and Mookambi are from Kerala and that setting up a budget hotel each in these places will be commercially viable," Dr K Elangovan, managing director, KTDC told f48The Financial Expressf45. KTDC is also likely to join hands with a partner in making these investments, he said.
In Velankanni, the corporation is close to finding a five-acre property to set up a hotel with at least minimum amenities for pilgrims. As the new policy of Kerala PSUs goes, the first priority of the corporation will be to get the land on lease, not on full ownership. In Mookambi, also, the corporation has written to the district collector to identify suitable land for KTDC to improve the pilgrim tourism infrastructure.
KTDC, with 59 small, medium and big properties spread across Kerala, already has a flourishing pilgrim property in its Nandanam in Guruvayoor. The corporation also had business interest in the Sabarimala pilgrim tourism, but for the high profile objections from the forest authorities.
It was in 1998-99 that the corporation wiped out its accumulated losses of over Rs 9 crore and opened a profit account. From Rs 34.69 crore sales in 1998-99 (profits: Rs 1.25 crore), the turnover had fallen marginally to Rs 30.79 crore in 1999-2000 (profits: Rs 76 lakh) after the beer parlour decision. Since the business had still continued to limp with Rs 21.8 crore turnover as on 31 December, 2001 (profits: Rs 63.55 lakh), wooing back the beer buyers have been seen a viable option.