Kerala Tourism on marketing blitz in Australia, ME

Kerala is on a marketing blitz to attract more travellers from the Middle East and Down Under.

Mumbai: Buoyed by an over 11 per cent
increase in foreign tourist arrivals in 2011, which was a bad year for the global tourism industry given the bleak economic
environment, Kerala is on a marketing blitz to attract more travellers from the Middle East and Down Under.

"We plan to spend over Rs 10 crore on mass media
campaigns and road shows alone in the Middle East and
Australia this year," Kerala Tourism Director Rani George told
PTI in Thiruvananthapuram recently.

This is significant, considering that the entire
marketing budget for the Tourism Department of `God`s Own
Country`, which is how Kerala is known in global tourism
circles, is only Rs 35 crore for the year.

The marketing blitz in the Middle East involves road
shows and mass media campaigns involving television and the
print media. The first leg of the campaign has already been
kicked off in Saudi Arabia, with its three main cities of
Riyadh, Jeddah and Dhamam as the focal points of the road
shows, George said.
In Australia, too, the department will be using the mass
media and road show models to lure Australians to the country,
she said, adding that the campaign will kick off in early

The other focal markets for 2012 will be Russia and
China, she added.

George further said the department has empanelled
creative agency Stark to come out with a tourism awareness
film that will help locals respect foreigners visiting the
state. The ad film will be ready in the next six months and
will be aired in the main markets of Europe and Britain, she

"Foreign tourist arrivals rose 11.18 per cent in 2011 to
7.32 lakh, while domestic arrivals touched 93.8 lakh during
the year, which is an increase of 9.15 per cent," George said.

In revenue terms, those from foreign tourists rose
11.2 per cent to Rs 4,221 crore, George said adding, "the
overall revenue from tourism touched Rs 19,037 crore, which is
an increase of 9.74 per cent in 2011 over 2010."

This makes the contribution of tourism to the state
GDP nearly 10 per cent, she added.
Last year, the revenue from tourism had crossed Rs
17,000 crore, constituting 9 per cent of the state GDP.

On the prospects for this year, George said, she is
targeting an 8-10 per cent spike in overall arrivals.

When asked whether the department is looking at new
tourism circuits in the state, she said, the state is already
working a Northern Circuit, which will be completed in FY13.

"For the central part, we are developing a heritage
project in Kodungaloor in Thrissur district. Called the
Muziris Heritage Project, this involves Rs 200 crore
investment," the tourism director said.