SUBJECT :The department has identified the eco-tourism destinations in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts as part of promoting them as adventure tourism destinations 

Thiruvananthapuram, January 10, 2019: Kerala Tourism is considered one of the minnows in MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and adventures tourism. But the post-flood Kerala is now focusing to bring the state into the MICE tourism map of the country by inviting famed global tour operators and holding a convention of global leaders in the segment.

The Tourism Department has submitted a proposal to the state government to hold a national convention of MICE stakeholders in Kochi in association with Indian Convention Promotion Bureau (ICPB), a body formed under the Ministry of Tourism to promote the country as a venue for International Conferences and Exhibitions. 

Speaking to Express, Rani George, Tourism Secretary, said “The state has not figured in the MICE destinations of the country, although Kerala is a popular leisure destination. So, this time, the department has decided to hold the national convention of MICE stakeholders in  Kochi by August in association with ICPB in order to take Kerala into the MICE map of the country. We have properties and destinations to promote and the state would be taking the membership of ICPB,” she said.

“We have convention centres with international standards and good connectivity to leisure destinations inside the state apart from exhibition spaces and other related infrastructure. And the sector has the potential enough to generate revenue through MICE activities like other metro cities,” she said. Another area the state is giving thrust to is adventure tourism and the government is planning to campaign ‘adventure along with experience’, she added.

Director, Kerala Tourism, P Bala Kiran, said Kerala doesn’t have adventure spots like the North or Northeastern parts of the country. But the state has at least a couple of eco-tourism spots in every district which can be used as adventure tourism destinations. A walk through the paddy field, or dense forest or experiencing the enthusiasm of river kayaking and rafting is possible in the state, he said.

The department has identified the eco-tourism destinations in Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts as part of promoting them as adventure tourism destinations. Further, a talk is progressing with various departments especially with the Forest Department to use some of the popular eco-tourism destinations as adventure tourism spots which would be finalised in a couple of months, he said.

Tourist arrival - both domestic and international - has seen a drop in terms of growth rate in last year. The  state, which has been registering a growth of around 5 to 10 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals, has witnessed a negative growth of 0.22 per cent in 2018 (up to Nov) with recording a footfall of 9.56 lakh against 9.58 lakh recorded during the same period in the previous year. The growth rate of  domestic tourism has also seen a drop with the growth which was over 10 per cent in the previous years dropping to 7.08 per cent in 2018 (up to Nov).