G20 Meet: Tourism Director P B Nooh dwells on tapping Kumarakom’s tourism potential

The first question that will arise regarding the G20 meet is where it is held. That will increase the scope of Kumarakom as a tourist destination, says P B Nooh. Photo: Manorama

Kumarakom is drawing global attention by hosting the officials’ meeting as part of the G20 summit. Representatives from over 50 countries have reached Kumarakom so far this year.

Earlier, this lakeside village hosted the Global Responsible Tourism Summit also. When Kumarakom is growing in stature to find a place on the global map, whether people of the place and state are also growing? Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh opens up to ‘Manorama’ on it and other aspects.

Why Kumarakom?
Lakeshores are an important part of Kerala tourism. Kumarakom and its lakesides are famed across the world. Kumarakom has a prominent place on the Responsible Tourism map.

Kerala got the international Responsible Tourism Award 2022. Kumarakom’s specialties include tourism hubs like Maravanthuruthu. Kumarakom is the best place to summon lakesides and Responsible Tourism at one point and showcase before the world.

In India, one cannot see so many resorts and quality dwellings dotting a small place. The variety in food, including the famed pearl spot, is another specialty.

How will we benefit from G20 meet here?
The meet is attended by prominent personalities from across the world. The media in these countries will report the meeting. The first question that will arise here is where the meet is held.

That will increase the scope of Kumarakom as a tourist destination. India’s Sherpa in G20 is former Kerala Tourism Secretary Amitabh Kanth. He has clear-cut ideas about Kerala’s tourism potential. He himself suggested Kumarakom as the venue for the meet.

Any alternative to Kumarakom?
We never thought of any alternative to Kumarakom. It is the most beautiful place close to the Cochin international airport. We also have beautiful hill stations.

But the distance to them and the condition of the roads to these places are a concern. It is also difficult to arrange travel for such a big contingent. So Kumarakom is the most suited place for us to hold this summit.

How are the commoners going to benefit from this?
The indirect benefits of holding such international summits will reach the commoners through the tourism sector itself. We know that this is a village, and it doesn’t have facilities such as an eight-lane highway.

We are holding these events while openly telling that the facilities of developed lands are not available here. But this is a beautiful hamlet. And we’re doling out the message that international summits and discussions can be successfully held in a village as well.

Development always doesn’t mean urbanization. The reflections of such events will reach the commoners gradually.

Does that mean the rural populace can find a revenue source through this?
Yes, absolutely. We will extend the foreigners with village tour opportunities and help the local people find revenue sources. The convention center set up for G-20 will now become a venue for many summits.

One of the key areas of focus by Kerala Tourism this year is ‘Destination Wedding’. Kumarakom will be made the hub of it. The natives will also benefit by getting revenue and employment.

The future of Kerala Tourism
A total of 1.88 crore domestic tourists visited Kumarakom last year. However, the record for maximum foreign tourist arrivals was in 2019.

Then over 11 lakh international tourists arrived at Kumarakom. International tourism is slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic. We hope that 2023 will set a record in terms of foreign tourist arrivals.

Through the G-20 summit, we could embark on a huge international marketing campaign as well. Similarly, we will also focus on the development of other areas in the state. Varkala will turn into a major destination in the future.

We will also work towards evolving places like Beppur, Muzhappilangad, Kasaragod, and Munnar into major tourist destinations. Tourism will become a major revenue source for the state.

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