Kerala’s tourism USPs kindle interest in Belgium circles

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 12:  Close on the heels of its successful foray into the outbound tourism markets of Japan and Poland, Kerala Tourism is poised to host Belgian tourists in droves during this season, with leading tour operators and travel agents in that west European nation showing interest in the traditional wellness systems and scenic grandeur of ‘God’s Own Country’.

A road show organized by Kerala Tourism in the Belgian capital of Brussels drew a huge response, with delegates from the host nation enquiring about the state’s famed Ayurveda system of medicine and backwaters along the Arabian Coast.

As many as 73 prominent tour operators and travel operators attended the November 10 Brussels event that was also attended by 18 trade partners from Kerala who were led by the state’s Tourism Director Shri PI Sheik Pareeth.

The chief guest at the function was Indian Ambassador to Belgium, Shri Manjeev Singh Puri, who is also to the country’s diplomat to Luxembourg and the European Union. In his speech, Shri Puri appreciated Kerala Tourism’s promotional efforts in the Belgian market.

Kerala’s Tourism Minister Shri AP Anilkumar said the state was “overwhelmed” by the high attendance at the Brussels road show. “This makes it clear that Belgium is an emerging market for Kerala Tourism,” he added.

In 2014, Belgian Tourist arrivals to Kerala totalled 11,986. Overall, the pertinent figures show a 65.13% growth in the past five years.

Pointing this out, Shri Pareeth noted that the Belgian delegates were keen to learn more about Kerala Tourism’s products such as house-boats and trekking along its evergreen forests. “Their curiosity to grasp in depth about each of our highlights was striking. It is an increasingly positive sign for us,” said the top bureaucrat.

Already, Belgian tourists are entitled to enjoy the advantage of issuance of ‘Visa on Arrival’ after touching down at the airports in Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram. Brussels is well connected with Kerala, thanks to flight connectivity. Qatar Airways, which was the partner airlines for the Kerala event in Brussels, has offered two complimentary return tickets to Kerala for a lucky draw winner at the event.

The Kerala firms which participated in the Brussels show were Abad Hotels, All Seasons, Carmelia Haven, CHG Earth, Eastend Hotels, Intersight Tours & Travels, Kairali Ayurvedic Healing Village, Kerala Voyages, Pioneer Personalized Holidays, Poovar Island Resort, RAXA Collective, Somatheeram Ayurveda, Somatheeram Ayurvedic Health Resort, T&U Leisure Hotel, Paul Resorts, Thomas Hotels & Resorts and Vythiri Resort.

A month ago, Kerala Tourism held a similar road show in the Polish capital of Warsaw, making its foray into Eastern Europe which is the fastest-growing economic region in the whole of that continent.


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