Kerala Tourism, with annual revenues of R24,855 crore, has been doing the business rounds at San Franciso and California this week by spreading awareness about its fitness wares like Kalaripayat and Ayurvedic rejuvenation therapy at the Silicon Valley.
“The gameplan is to woo more IT CEOs in the Velley to come to Kerala,” Kerala government’s chief secretary Jiji Thomson told FE.
In fact, a corporate meet in Palo Alto, the home turf of Google and Facebook, this week saw the swish and thrust of Kalari performers. Besides, the martial arts demo, the “Kerala Evening” at the world’s high-tech capital showcased the swirl of picturesque Kathakali pantomime and videos of Kerala’s blue beaches and rejuvenation holidays on houseboats cruising the State’s backwaters. “We have been profiling the destination as a vacation ground and as a great place to work,” says G Kamalavardhana Rao , who is heading a delegation of a dozen tourism industry representatives.
Rao enumerated the list of investment opportunities at the Kerala event, attended by senior executives from over 50 companies.
From 2013, Kerala has been gradually shifting its marketing focus from its traditional clients in Britain, Germany and Switzerland to United States, organising roadshows in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles for the first time. Tourist arrivals from the US to India were 11,18,983 in 2014 and the share of 14.57% was the highest among the 10 top source countries of foreign tourist arrivals.
In 2014, Kerala attracted 77,616 US holidayers and this was 8.41% of the total foreign tourist arrivals, says state tourism official Thomas Antony.
This year, the US campaign had zeroed in on the US’s businessmen holidayers from IT industry, roping in St Francisco’s city council member Catherine Carlton, Indian Consular General in San Francisco Venkatesan Ashok and CII ( Confederation of India Industry) country head ( in charge of US and Canada) Sumani Dash.
“The strategy is to focus on the high-spending US citizens although the State is a long-haul destination,” says Rao. Kalaripayat’s system of treatment, massage and fitness practices to improve physical flexibility aligns with Ayurveda therapy and conventially draws professionals suffering from cervical spondylitis and other deskbound workplace ailments. As the Kerala government is fearing a dent in its earning from MICE ( Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) segment revenues after there were restrictions on sale of liquor, the State is pinning its hopes on its 13th Century martial arts and palm-fringed beaches to bring back the high-spending and health-conscious visitors.