Kerala Tourism to create pilgrimage, ecotourism circuits

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Bengaluru, Jan 15 (IANS) Aiming to propel its tourism industry, Kerala is planning to introduce pilgrimage tourism and ecotourism, said a state government official on Friday.

“Central government has allocated an amount of Rs.100 crore and Rs.93 crore for pilgrimage and ecotourism for two years. We want to create a pilgrimage tourism and eco tourism circuits and promote it,” said Kerala Tousrism director P.I. Sheik Pareeth.

He said plans are afoot to include important temples starting from the richest Hindu temple Padmanabha Swamy temple in the south of the state to Sabarimala temple in the north to complete the pilgrimage tourism circuit while ecotourism circuit will be created without disturbing the environment.

Kerala Tourism has declared the one year period from April 2015 to April 2016 as ‘Visit Kerala Year’ and planned aggressive campaigns to target potential visitors in India and abroad.

Pareeth said publicity campaigns at trade fairs and roadshows will be conducted in Britain, France and Germany while off season packages will be marketed in Indian cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai and others.

“Indian tourists account for 12 million footfalls and foreign tourists for one million footfalls in Kerala. We aim to grow the current annual Rs.26,000 crore tourism revenue by 10 to 15 percent every year,” he said.

In 2014, Kerala’s foreign exchange revenue rose by 15 percent to reach Rs.6,398.93 crore from 2103.

The tourism department director said Nishagandhi Festival scheduled from January 20-27 will feature performances by Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, actress dancer Hema Malini and musician Anoushka Shankar.

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