Thiruvananthapuram: The State Budget has provided a fillip to the tourism sector, touted as one of the pillars of the Kerala economy, by allocating Rs 362.15 crore for its development.
In the latest budget of the second Pinarayi Government, Finance Minister K N Balagopal has come up with projects that kindle new hopes for the sector. It is expected that the projects will be able to resurrect and bring remarkable changes to the state’s tourism industry which suffered a major setback in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Rs 362.15 crore for the tourism sector
As part of Kerala Tourism 2.0, eight tourist spots will be lifted to world standards. The focus will be on turning the tourist spots of Kovalam, Alappuzha, Kumarakom, Kuttanad, Kollam Ashtamudi, Beypore, Bekal, and Munnar into experiential tourist spots and lifting them to global standards. These projects will be implemented by connecting them to seven tourist corridors in the state. These tourism corridors are the Coastal Network Corridor, Coastal Highway Corridor, Waterway Canal Corridor, National Highway Corridor, Heli Tourism Corridor, Hill Tourism Corridor, and Railway Corridor. These will be developed by connecting to the infrastructure development projects in the state. This year, Rs 50 crore has been allotted for the development of the tourism corridors.
Preliminary steps for establishing no-frills airstrips that seek to encourage inter-district air travel and help in disaster management response are underway. As part of its first phase implementation, the works for undertaking a feasibility study in Idukki, Wayanad, and Kasaragod and preparing the detailed project report have started. A company in the PPP mode will be established in the state to set up the airstrips across the state. The minister said the government will sanction Rs 20 crore in the form of its equity for it. Moreover, for eco-tourism projects, Rs 7 crore has been granted.
The minister allocated Rs 81 crore for carrying out an international tourism campaign and set aside Rs 19.3 crore for three institutions: the Kerala Institute of Travel Studies, the Kerala Institute of Hospitality Management, and the Food Craft Institute. He earmarked Rs 8 crore for the conduct of traditional festivities like Thrissur Pooram, besides the regional cultural programs. A sum of Rs 7 crore has been provided for organizing the Kerala Travel Mart-2024 and another two crore for the Kochi Muziris Biennale.
In the tourism sector, Rs 10 crore has been allotted towards power subsidy, Rs 3.7 crore for caravan tourism, and three crore for the continuance of the Revolving Fund project. An amount of Rs 135.63 crore has been earmarked for the development of basic amenities in the major tourist centres of the state.
Work from Holiday Home
Under the project titled ‘Work from Holiday Home’, special amenities will be arranged at tourist centers to attract those who have availed ‘Work from Home’ option from their employers. The initiative is expected to boost the tourism sector in a major way. A sum of Rs 10 crore has been set apart for preliminary preparedness for the project.
History Museum to come up at Kappad in Kozhikode
A History Museum will be set up at Kappad in Kozhikode considering its historical significance. It was in Kappad, in 1498, that Vasco da Gama, the first European to reach India by sea, landed with his 170 men. The Finance Minister has set aside Rs 10 crore for the project. Another Museum, celebrating the ancient trade history, and an oceanarium will be established in Kollam. The latter will be implemented through a public-private partnership mode.
The budget allocated Rs 22 crore for the development of Guest Houses, Yatri Niwas, and Kerala Houses and another Rs 9.5 crore for Responsible Tourism initiatives. A sum of Rs 17 crore has been set aside for Muziris, Alappuzha, and Thalassery Heritage programs after including them in the Heritage and Spice Route project, and Rs 12 crore for the conduct of the IPL-modelled Champions Boat League (CBL).