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First meeting of working group held
Need for innovative packages stressed
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Better marketing, better facilities for domestic and foreign tourists and specific campaigns are among the steps mooted by stake-holders in the tourism industry to overcome the crisis being faced in the sector in the wake of global economic recession and Mumbai terror attacks.
The suggestions were mooted at the first meeting of the working group chaired by Tourism Secretary V. Venu here on Thursday.
The working group comprising representatives of the industry and officials was set up by the government in November to work out strategies to overcome the crisis faced by the sector.
At the meeting, it was pointed out that there will be a 30 per cent drop in business in the State this season. The suggestion to focusing on domestic tourists and attracting them to the State to overcome the crisis did not have enough takers.
A consensus was reached among the stake-holders that Kerala should be retained as a premium destination even at this point of crisis and the effort should be for the ‘value proposition.’
Jose Dominic of CGH Earth suggested that the State should ‘go on selling the experience’ and that the tariffs were not that high. The inability of Kerala to come up with new tourism products, the lack of support from the government for stake-holders to participate in international fairs and travel marts also came up for discussion.
The 15 per cent tax levied by the government and the high air fare from major cities to the State also came in for criticism. Those in the industry called for a review of the taxation pattern.
The Working Group will continue to function as a standing committee in the coming months to assess the situation and to take corrective steps, Tourism Director M. Sivasankar said.
The meeting was attended by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) Chairman Cherian Philip; KTDC Managing Director K.G. Mohanlal; Confederation of Tourism Industry of Kerala Chairman E.M. Najeeb; M.R. Narayanan, Baby Mathew and Riyas Ahamed, among others.
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