Kerala is first post-pandemic choice of tourists: Foreign travel agents

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Kochi: Kerala has emerged as the first choice of global tourists amid a COVID-19 slide, as travellers from across continents find the southern Indian state rich and alluring as a cultural experience, according to foreign travel agents at the ongoing Kerala Travel Mart (KTM).

Enquiries about Kerala top among all the destinations about which they have been receiving queries ever since the pandemic started tapering off, reveal the foreign travel agency delegates, who are among the international buyers at the four-day KTM-2022 which began here on Thursday.

As Sagara and Samudrika convention centres in the Willingdon Island set the stage for 55,000 business meets, the foreign delegates said Kerala is invariably the most sought-after destination for those visiting India, a KTM release said here.

Zsolt Jurak, who is owner of World Travel Master KFT in Hungary, said Kerala is "one of the best parts in the whole of India" because of its traditional values, Ayurveda wellness, tasty food and warm people.

"I am glad to see that the event is back after the pandemic and people can travel freely in the state," gushed Jurak, who has been to Kerala "several times earlier" as a tourist.

"At the KTM-2022, I am specifically looking for new possibilities and places, alongside certain unique and extraordinary things," he added at the venue of the event being organised by KTM Society.

Billed as India's biggest tourism event, it will conclude on May 8.

Eunsook Park, an official of Withus Tour in South Korea, said her compatriots, who are interested in pilgrimage, are keen to visit the churches of Kochi.

"Normally, Koreans are interested in pilgrimage programmes and such tour packages. They choose Kerala and Chennai for pilgrimage packages, especially the Catholic pilgrimage package to visit Kochi," she pointed out.

"Its natural beauty makes Kerala an apt place to relax," adds Park, who has been busy with promoting the state's latest travel products such as caravan tourism.

According to Alexandra Nazimek, owner of Planet Escape, Poland, the serenity of Kerala's tourism destinations gets enhanced by their cultural ambience, making the state especially attractive for foreign tourists.

"Tourists from all around the globe, especially from Europe, prefer Kerala as their favourite destination. There are still more places for tourists to explore here and experience," she added.

KTM-2022 is being attended by delegates from 69 countries and has buyers from 25 states within the country.

Last year, the KTM had organised a virtual summit in March, facilitating more than 7,000 business meets that enabled the travel industry to take major strides in overcoming the COVID-triggered economic crisis. That online event saw a virtual buyers' meet with participants from across the world, including India.

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