Kerala Tourism, winner of the Golden Gate Silver Award at ITB Berlin in March for its ‘Your Moment is Waiting’ print ad campaign, is geared to roll out an aggressive international promotion that targets Germany, Middle East and Russia this year. Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld at ITB Berlin, Rani George, director, Kerala Tourism, informed, “We have just launched an Ayurveda promotional campaign in Germany. The idea came from the fact that most of the visitor arrivals to Ayurvedic resorts in Kerala are from Germany. Also, we did a one-day roadshow for the first time in Berlin in January which drew a lot of positive response from tour operators in and around the city. As an introduction to the new Ayurveda promotional campaign, we organised a workshop in Munich which was well attended by representatives from leading corporate houses and the German media.”
She added, “We are considering doing roadshows in other German cities. The Ayurveda campaign will be followed by other promotions, both via media and outdoor hoardings.” All this is part of an international blitzkrieg being planned by the tourism board. “The Middle East is also on our radar. In April we are organising roadshows in Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah, followed up by a TV campaign and outdoor displays. We plan to target the entire Middle East to promote our tourist season from June to September which is the holiday season in the Middle East. After the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai in end April, we have lined up one or two events for the region but nothing has been finalised as yet.”
Another market where Kerala Tourism is promoting the state is Australia. “Our roadshows in Australia in Sydney and Melbourne have received good response. Here too we will follow it up with other promotions like a media campaign. Promotions in Russia are definitely part of the plan for financial year 2012-13. China is however still tentative,” said George. Kerala Tourism which logged a 11 per cent growth in 2010-2011 expects to touch 15 per cent this year with the buzz in the new markets.
She was also excited about the Muziris Heritage Project where excavations have been done and the site will be made open to the public by April in the first phase. The second phase will be done by 2013. The state is also in preliminary talks with UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site along with the Spice Route.
The project has got a tremendous boost with the allocation of `seven crore announced by the Kerala finance minister, K M Mani, in his budget recently. The state budget has also announced two new airports at Idukki and Wayanad and Rs 50 crore for the Kannur airport. Other highlights of the budget that will drive tourism in the state include Rs 50 crore for building a new dam at Mullaperiyar, Rs 56 crore for development of coastal highways, a Ayurveda University to be set up at Kottakal and Rs three crore for pollution-free tourist destinations.