Separate NRI investment cell for Kerala tourism
Mar 6, 2007 - 4:20:36 PM
Thiruvananthapuram, March 6 - Steps are underway to set up a separate cell to tap the cash-rich non-resident Keralites - for developing Kerala's tourism infrastructure, state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said here Tuesday.
'Though the central and state governments are doing their bit to promote tourism in Kerala, this will not be enough for the development of tourism infrastructure. For this we should tap the NRKs and a special cell will be created to this effect,' Balakrishnan said in the state assembly.
The minister was replying to questions on the steps taken to promote tourism in Kerala.
He said that an Infrastructure Development Finance Corporation would also be set up to look into tourism infrastructure development.
The minister pointed out that the biggest problem faced by the Kerala tourism industry was shortage of rooms.
'During the peak season Kerala requires around 20,000 rooms and what we have now are a mere 8,000 rooms,' Balakrishnan said.
In 2006, the number of foreign tourists visiting Kerala went up by 23.67 percent over 2005 and touched a record 428,534. In the same period, as many as 6.2 million domestic visitors arrived in the state, up by 5.41 percent from 2005.
Balakrishnan said they would promote home-stays in the state to address the increasing demand for rooms.
'Home stay is one area where we could concentrate because it brings income to all. Kochi is already doing well in this front. A master plan for tourism is also on the anvil and this would cover all the issues of the industry,' he added.
The minister further said that tourism would soon be part of the school curriculum and that more tourism educational institutions would also be set up.
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