New Delhi: The Centre and the Kerala
government together will spend Rs 500 crore to boost tourism
in the state, known as `the God`s own country`.
The plan is to further promote the state as a popular
tourism hub by creating better infrastructure like roads,
hotels, shopping centres and houseboats.
"The work will be done in three phases with a total
investment of Rs 500 crore. The new facilities would be
developed on a public-private partnership mode," sources said on Sunday.
In the first phase, the central government has provided
Rs 50 crore and an equal amount has been given by the state.
Besides, special emphasis would be given on picturesque
backwaters of Alappuzha in Kerala which is one of the major
attractions for tourists. As a part of the plan, a number of houseboat terminals,
resting points, night halt centres, curio and souvenir shops
would be built along the panoramic banks of the backwaters,
Besides, the state would invest in showcasing the glory
of heritage Muziris port situated on the south-western coast.
"We want to turn Muziris into a major destination for
cultural tourism. Muziris was a spice city where the traders
of the world ? Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Chinese ? thronged to
buy and sell spices and clothes," sources said.
Further, the state would also promote coir tourism. "The
tourists would be attracted to the state using the facilities
of the coir industry and also arrangements should be made for
them to watch the process of producing coir. This will in turn
be beneficial to the sector as a whole," they said.
The sector, which employs 3.25 lakh people in Kerala, is
a priority sector for the government. The state is a major hub
of coir production in the country.