G20 Sherpas meet brings in wholehearted praise for Kerala Tourism

The hospitality doled out by Kerala Tourism impresses G20 delegates at Kumarakom.

When the G20 Sherpas converged at the picturesque backwater venue of Kumarakom, in Kerala’s Kottayam, it was Kerala Tourism that walked away with the honours. For, the scenic settings of the venue and the warm hospitality extended by Kerala Tourism as the local host came in for wholehearted praise from the international and Indian delegates of the G 20 Sherpas meet.

More than 120 delegates from G20 member countries, nine invite countries and various international and regional organisations attended the March 30-April 2 meet, chaired by Indian Sherpa Amitabh Kant, at the Waterscapes Resort owned by Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC).

The state’s cultural heritage which was on full display at the famous sustainable tourism site in Kottayam district on the banks of the Vembanad lake and the eco-friendly initiatives made by the State Tourism Department   received encomiums from the delegates.

Impressive show by Kerala Tourism

Before leaving the site with enduring memories, the delegates thanked the local host with some of them recording their impression on staying in the place, enjoying the spice-rich local food and the houseboat ride they had on the picturesque backwaters. As many as 50 officials from the Department of Tourism had camped at Kumarakom for the successful coordination of the hospitality.

Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said that the delegates were highly impressed by the extensive arrangements made by the dedicated team of the Tourism Department at Kumarakom that were on par with global standards. Playing host to such an important conclave at Kumarakom gave an impetus to Kerala Tourism as a whole and the recent initiatives that turned the site into a shining example of sustainable, heritage preserving and community-centric Responsible Tourism initiative received great appreciation.

 A festive mood was palpable on all days, as the venue became live with cultural programmes that featured around 1,200 artistes, staged a replica of traditional Pooram, boat races on the placid Vembanad lake and performance of martial art Kalarippayattu along with a host of classical and folk arts.    

Kerala art forms captivate G20 delegates

A dance drama showcasing the tale of legendary warrior Unniyarcha was one of the major attractions of the cultural programmes. Directed by filmmaker TK Rajeev Kumar, the ballet was held on a 300-metre-long platform erected on the lake where Mohiniyattam, Kalarippayattu, Theyyam and Chavittu Nadakam (a folk art) were also staged. It turned out to be a unique experience for the delegates as traditional houseboats were arranged by Kerala Tourism for ferrying them.

On the concluding day, Kerala’s iconic festival Onam was recreated at the venue. Onam’s salient features like Pookalam, Onasadya, pulikali, Kummattikkali, Oonjalaattam (swing) and tug-of-war heightened the festive spirit, and the delegates took time off their busy schedule briefly to have a hands-on feel of the festivities. Sticking to the green protocol fully, the delegates were served food on edible biodegradable plates made from wheat bran. After use, these plates were used as fertiliser and as feed for poultry and fish.

Top officials of the world’s 20 largest economies held deliberations at the four-day summit to assess the work done so far under India’s G20 presidency and chalk out the way forward in tackling several global issues and challenges.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The New Indian Express, MSN India, PanAsiaBiz. Sanjeev can be reached at [email protected]

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