Thiruvananthapuram: Eyeing the post-pandemic upsurge in tourism activities, Kerala has rolled out a string of new projects at a cost of Rs 60 crore, giving greater visibility to 25 spots, many of them in rural and semi-urban areas along the length and breadth of the state.
Inaugurating the projects through video conference, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Tuesday that tourism in the state is on the comeback trail from the pandemic-induced crisis and the government was committed to providing all support to the sector.
He noted that the government did not allow the disruptions caused by COVID-19 to come in the way of implementation of tourism development projects in the state, which will position these destinations as must-see places for visitors.
"In Kerala, tourism is a source of income for large sections of people. After remaining shut for eight months due to the pandemic, tourism centres in the state have started receiving visitors by strictly adhering to health protocols, thereby restoring livelihood of the people affected by the disruption," the Chief Minister said.
The promotion of Responsible Tourism in a big way has brought benefit to local communities throughout the state, and the newly launched projects will boost their income, he said.
"Also, it will help preserve our heritage including art, handicraft, unique farming methods and cuisine," he said.
Noting that Responsible Tourism has its emphasis on conservation of ecology and heritage, Vijayan said "air, soil, water, flora and fauna and art and culture are our common assets, and tourism in Kerala is based on these invaluable inheritance."
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the new projects will help tourism overcome the crisis and maintain its status as Indias 'Super Brand.'
"Tourism is a key component of the states revenue and a major employment provider.So, tourism development projects are planned and implemented to achieve sustainable development goals," Surendran added.
Rani George, Principal Secretary, Tourism, said the state had launched a new marketing campaign called 'Change of Air' to help tourism overcome the ravages of the pandemic and maintain its status as India's 'Super Brand.'
The new projects were being implemented in such a way that the local community will be the principal beneficiary, the official said.
Tourism Director P Bala Kiran said the projects rolled out include Thalassery Heritage Project Phase-1 (Kannur), Sasthampara Tourism Project (Thiruvananthapuram), Aranmula Destination Development (Pathanamthitta), Ramakkalmedu Tourism Development Project (Idukki), Kumarakom Cultural Centre, Thunchan Smaraka renovation (Malappuram) Kappad Beach Tourism Project (Kozhikode) and Bekal Beach Park (Kasaragod).