Kochi, June 29: The upcoming Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), the largest gathering of tourism stakeholders in the state, is hoping to substantially augment its appeal by leveraging a unique Spice Route Culinary Festival to commemorate the shared legacy of the over 2,000-year-old maritime trade way.
The culinary festival, to be hosted by UNESCO, Kerala Tourism and the Union Tourism Ministry in Kochi from September 23-26, will witness leading chefs from the 31 countries on the historic Spice Route converging on ‘God’s Own Country’ to discover the famed gastronomic delights of the state.
The festival, the first-of-its-kind celebration of flavours and friendship, is a prelude to the ninth edition of the KTM, to be inaugurated on World Tourism Day, September 28. The three-day event, to be held at the Samudrika and Sagara Convention Centre, Willingdon Island, will run till September 30.
“The festival will promote the KTM 2016 theme: ‘Muziris and Spice Route’. The three-day event will hold great appeal for foodies. There will be a competition in which an expert panel and invited dignitaries will rate dishes and select the best chef,” said Shri Abraham George, President, KTM Society.
At the festival, leading chefs from across the Spice Route countries will sample Kerala’s cultural and gastronomic offerings, participate in cooking demos and culinary discussions, and showcase the choicest cuisines from their homelands in a tasting competition.
The dishes – an entrée (main course of a meal) and dessert each – will be based on made-to-order recipes inspired by Kerala spices and using locally sourced ingredients, with the winning creations to be featured in the city menus. The festival will culminate in a public tasting event.
Ambassadors from the respective countries will participate in the culinary festival with the winner to be felicitated at the inaugural ceremony of KTM 2016.
“With the Spice Route festival expected to bring in a substantial number of foreign tourists to Kerala, the KTM is hoping to benefit from and augment the state’s destination pull,” he hoped.
“Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Tourism Minister have extended full support for the upcoming KTM edition,” he said, adding: “The government has plans to bolster the development of the tourism sector.”
The ninth edition of KTM, organised in partnership with the Department of Tourism, will also focus on ‘Responsible Tourism’.
The KTM will be a platform for B2B networking, bringing together business entrepreneurs from Kerala that offer a range of various tourism products and services, including tour operators, hotels, resorts, home stays, houseboats, Ayurveda resorts and cultural art centres. It also facilitates their meetings and interactions with buyers from around the world.
As many as 265 stalls for Kerala-based exhibitors will be featured at the venue.
“We have been receiving great response from international as well as domestic buyers. Around 350 international and 900 domestic buyers have registered. We are planning to close the buyers’ registration by July,” Shri George said.
“The KTM is always looking to reach out to buyers from new international markets with focus on new arenas of tourism. With the Spice Route project encouraging modern-day travellers to retrace the pathways set down by pioneers, the influx of tourists drawn to the old-world charm of Kerala will undoubtedly increase,” he pointed out.
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