Kochi, June 9: The Kerala government is looking for doubling the number of domestic tourists and 50 per cent increase in foreign arrivals by 2021, Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said here today.
“Digital platforms are the key to achieve the aim,” he said, while inaugurating the second edition of International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) at Le Meridien hotel.
“Year after year, we see a constant growth in the number of tourists we host. Hence the industry needs to evolve in accordance with the changes in global market. Kerala Tourism has been exploring new media as a key platform and has witnessed the reach and response to it,” he noted.
Terming the ICTT as “the gateway to improve our social media presence”, he said it would eventually enhance the tourism sector.
Highlighting the state government’s plans for tourism sector, the minister noted that the new liquor policy, which allows bar licences to restaurants in hotels of three star category, would boost the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions) tourism in the state.
“Though, the availability of liquor is not the sole reason for choosing a venue for an event, it is part of urban lifestyle. The earlier policy had adversely affected the MICE tourism sector. Now, the new policy will help it,” he observed.
The ICTT, organised by Association of Tourism Trade Organisation (ATTOI) with support from Kerala Tourism, is the only conference of its kind in the country focusing on the most pertinent aspects of building businesses on technology platforms.
The inauguration ceremony saw in attendance Shri Hibi Eden, MLA; Dr Venu V, Principal Secretary, Department of Tourism; and Shri P. Bala Kiran, Director, Department of Tourism.
Shri Eden said international tourists are keen to experience the authentic and local feel of a place. “The initiative of ‘Responsible Tourism’ is a much appreciated effort as it gives them the local flavor. Such initiatives can be easily spread out to the world through the world of social media,” he noted.
Dr Venu launched the twitter campaign #Kerala #IndiaForBeginners on the sidelines of the event while Shri Kiran launched the Facebook campaign during the inaugural ceremony.
“Kerala Tourism has always been in the forefront as we were the first tourist destination to start a website. Later, we spread our presence to other social media platforms. The technology platforms are gently stronger. Hence we need to redesign and reengineer to cater the demands of guests,” Dr Venu said.
Shri Bala Kiran noted that the social media platforms would help to create buzz for promoting new destinations.
“The tourism sector concentrates mostly on the southern part of the state. But we need to focus on the northern parts as well. The technology platforms can be used for promoting creating buzz about new destinations,” he said.
In his welcome address, ATTOi President Anish Kumar P.K. said the first ICTT held at Kovalam in June 2013 was widely appreciated for both its content as well as for its successful conduct.
“ICTT 2017 has gone bigger with 17 industry leaders from across the globe sharing keen insights on industry-relevant topics,” he added.
The conference will deliberate on topics like ‘Content and Search Engine Strategy’, ‘Digital Tools: The way forward’, ‘Online Destination Marketing’ ‘Consumer Behaviour and Online Reputation’, ‘Social Media for Tourism’, ‘Online Tools’ and ‘Revenue Management’.
ICTT 2017 Convenor Shailesh Nair also spoke on the occasion.
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