Tourism revival in mind, Kerala looks to partner UAE investors, NRKs

Kerala has an investor-friendly institutional mechanism to provide quick approvals and clearances for investment proposals, Tourism Minister says.

With well charted out plans that would help the state bounce back from the Covid-induced crisis, Kerala has now lined up opportunities towards facilitating high investment in the travel and hospitality sector. In line with this, the state government will unveil several ambitious projects to tap its potential as an extended tourist haven.

Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas told the media in Dubai that the state is keen on partnering with UAE-based investors and Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) in scripting a new story of growth and development in key sectors, especially tourism.

Major initiatives promising attractive investment opportunities are ‘Exploring the Unexplored’ destinations, opening up the untapped Malabar region, Caravan Tourism, safe and regulated adventure tourism, experiential tourism, workcations and active holidays, the Minister said.

New projects line up investment possibilities

The state expects the recently launched Caravan Tourism to provide a riveting experience to visitors, while houseboats will continue to be one of the top holiday experiences in Kerala. Riyas, who is leading a delegation from Kerala to Expo 2020 Dubai to showcase the state’s strengths, said the new projects have opened up investment possibilities in MICE facilities, resorts and hotels, caravans and caravan parks, farmstays, adventure holidays and travel and tour operations.

Kerala has an investor-friendly institutional mechanism to provide quick approvals and mandatory clearances for investment proposals, the Minister said. When the pandemic fades away, Ayurveda/health and wellness holidays will become important, for which the state is well-positioned to attract clients from the Middle East for wellness and rejuvenation holidays.

A must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts, Kerala is well positioned to attract young travellers with soft adventure activities in the hills and forests of Western Ghats. Kerala’s forests cover nearly 30 percent of the total land area and there are 15 wildlife sanctuaries, 2 tiger reserves, 5 national parks and 60 plus eco-tourism destinations.

Kerala tourism banks on responsible initiatives

On the caravan tourism initiative, Riyas said the aim of the project is to popularise this mode of holidaying among common people. “About 297 potential investors have evinced interest in caravans and have registered for availing subsidy so far under the project. The construction of caravan parks is underway. The response to the registration process for setting up caravan parks has been overwhelming. So far, we have received as many as 78 registrations for caravan parks,” he said.

Riyas also urged the Keralites in the UAE to be the brand ambassadors of the tourism projects of the state. Kerala’s tourism development is centred around the idea of Responsible Tourism with community participation. Sustainable growth is the right approach to development, he said.

Emphasising on the strong government-to-government relations with UAE and people-to-people social and cultural ties, the Minister said he is confident that tourism will be a key driver in this relationship with more and more Keralites travelling to UAE, and vice-versa, in the future.

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