‘Kochi, Munnar and Thiruvanathapuram will be connected by seaplane’

In an exclusive interview, P I Sheik Pareeth, director, Kerala Tourism, outlines the state tourism department’s plans for 2015 By Steena Joy

In an exclusive interview, P I Sheik Pareeth, director, Kerala Tourism, outlines the state tourism department’s plans for 2015 By Steena Joy

What plans has Kerala Tourism lined up for 2015?

P I Sheik Pareeth

After consolidating our presence in the traditional markets including UK, France, Germany, we are also reaching out to new markets in Scandinavia and Europe (Poland, Czech). This year, we have already made inroads into Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Scandinavia with our successful road shows.

We are expecting to cross more and more geographical boundaries in the coming year. With its natural beauty and visa on arrival facility being offered to more countries, Kerala will establish itself as a major tourist destination in the world market. The hop-on-hop- off taxis in Kochi-Muziris and Kochi Biennale area will also attract more tourists. Quite a number of plans are in the pipeline. We will be finalising these plans in a few months’ time.

What new strategies/ initiatives is Kerala Tourism planning in Responsible Tourism? Will any new RT destinations be developed?

Kerala Tourism has introduced a tourism policy which will focus on enhancing the socio-economic growth of the state through the promotion of ‘Responsible Tourism’ (RT). As an initiative to promote RT, the government will endorse additional hotels, ayurveda centres, houseboats, convention centres, tour operators, tourist transport operators, etc. The government will also provide incentives to them based on a set of requirements.

RT-based sustainable tourism practices will be implemented at Ambalavayal in Wayanad, Bekal in Kasaragod, and Kumbalangi in Ernakulam.

Will the innovative marketing campaign on Mumbai Metro be replicated elsewhere in the country?

Rajdhani branding, London cab branding, and Kolkata tram branding are some of the examples of Kerala Tourism’s innovative marketing campaigns before Mumbai Metro branding. A lot more projects on similar lines will be seen in the next financial year.

Is there an environmental impact of the hop-on-hop-off water taxis on the backwaters?

Kerala is known for its beautiful backwaters and hop on hop off water taxis connect these backwaters. Kerala Tourism projects have always been eco-friendly and these water taxis are no different. These taxis connect much sought after destinations in Kochi including Marine Drive, Bolgatty, Vypeen, Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. These boats have also served as a platform for the local artist to showcase their talent, by branding the boats’ exterior. Kerala Tourism will be enhancing the facilities of the six seated air-conditioned boats in the coming year.

What is the current status of the sea plane project? Which new destinations will be connected in 2015?

We are in the process of finalising the sea plane project. Service schedules are being awaited from the sea plane operators. Key destinations in Kerala including Kochi, Munnar and Thiruvanathapuram will be connected by seaplane.

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First published on: 16-12-2014 at 20:02 IST