Innovation key to attract tourists to Kerala

KeralaKOCHI: Innovation is the key to attract tourists to God’s Own country – Kerala, where there is ‘incredible’ opportunity waiting to be tapped, a top official said here.

“We are looking at incredible opportunity as Kerala gets only 10 per cent of global visitors coming to India. More and more international visitors were now preferring developing economies,” V Venu, Director General of National Museum and Vice Chancellor of National Museum Institute under the Ministry of Culture, said.

Speaking at the Young Entrepreneurs Summit (YES) at a session on opportunities in ‘Tourism’, Dr Venu, former Tourism secretary of Kerala, said in tourism innovation was needed. Lot of enterprises, which were started in the sector, failed to take off due to ‘herd mentality’.

Citing the example of houseboats, he said now there were too many houseboats in the state which were unsustainable.

Before starting up ventures, homework was essential. Tourism is a human centric business and requires 24×7 attention, he said.

Jose Dominic, who heads the CGH Earth group of hotels, said local and fresh ideas that come from the local community should be adopted as the Kerala model.

Shankar Thiruvillakkat, CEO of Assyst International Pvt Ltd and director at Banasura Hill Resort, said venturing into the hospitality sector was purely accidental.

The resort at Waynad was conceived as a ‘company guesthouse’ to provide a quiet weekend getaway but the concept turned out to become Asia’s largest Earth Resort.

Young entrepreneur Maneesha Panicker, owner and founder of Silk Route Escapes, an experiential travel company specializing in travel through Kerala and India, said she offers a soul searching experience, helping global travelers discover, understand and connect with people and their culture.

Speaking on her latest ‘Kayal’ project, an island retreat in the backwaters of Kochi, she said ‘Kakkathuruthu’ is an island of crows, where fisherfolk and farmers share the stories of their lives with guests in cottages.

Funding and labor issues had come her way, but these were successfully handled, she added. -PTI

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