Kerala Tourism Aims State As MICE Destination for Japanese CEOs

Tourism Secretary Meets Japanese Ambassador in Delhi

Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 9:  In its efforts to grab a major share of the global multi-billion-dollar MICE tourism industry, Kerala will promote the state as a destination for conferences and meetings of Japanese corporate leaders in the future.

Kerala Tourism has sought the support of the Japanese government in turning Kerala into a MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) destination for chief executive officers (CEOs) of prominent companies in Japan and those based in India.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Shri G Kamala Vardhana Rao met Japan's Ambassador to India, Mr Takeshi Yagi,  in New Delhi on October 6 to seek his cooperation. Mr. Toshihiro Yamakoshi, Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, w?as? ?also present at the meeting.

"The honourable Ambassador of Japan has assured his full support towards Kerala government's efforts to transform the state as a MICE destination for the business heads from his country," said Shri Rao.

The Kerala Tourism Secretary, who called on the Japanese Ambassador at his official residence, said the state would host a meeting of top executives of Japanese companies based in India to kick-start the process, in the near future.

"With its status as a peaceful destination, Kerala is an ideal p??lace for brainstorming by Japanese corporate leaders," said Shri Rao.

"We will also organise a meeting in Tokyo of Japanese CEOs based in their country after analysing the outcome of the meeting in New Delhi" Shri Rao said.

Japanese companies regularly send their senior executives abroad for meetings and conferences. MICE tourism is a key element of top tourist destinations in the world considering the high foreign exchange earnings offered by it.

The Kerala government had slashed the luxury tax on auditoriums and convention centres having rents above Rs 20,000 from 20 per cent to 10 per cent in the budget last year to attract MICE tourism in the state.

"Because of the high earnings in global MICE tourism, it is inevitable that we enter the sector in a big way," the Kerala Tourism Secretary said.

Last year, a Chinese multinational company had sent a whopping 6,500 of its senior corporate executives to Paris for meetings and conferences. MICE tourism raises the international profile of the destination as the visiting CEOs tend to be high-spending and high-profile travellers.

Mr Yagi also suggested a meeting of the representatives of the Indo-Japanese Chamber of Commerce, an independent business body, in Kerala to explore the possibility of inviting investment in hospitality and tourism sector in the state.

The meeting with the Japanese Ambassador came before the Kerala Tourism roadshow in Tokyo on October 19.

"There has been a considerable increase in the number of Japanese tourists visiting Kerala in the last few years," Shri Rao said, adding the meeting discussed ways to tap the mutually-beneficial opportunities.

The Tourist Visa on Arrival facility introduced by the Government of India to the citizens of Japan has given a boost on the number of arrivals to Kerala. The number of Keralites visiting Japan has also increased in the recent past.

Praising Kerala's "natural beauty", Mr Yagi, the Japanese Ambassador, also offered his embassy's support in promoting Ayurveda in Japan.

"The honourable Ambassador pointed to the tremendous opportunity for promoting Ayurveda, which is a time tested traditional medicinal system, among the people of Japan.



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