What created the brand “Kerala”?

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for IBTIMES.COM

Call it God’s own country, a haven for waterfalls or the only place for experiencing life in backwaters. Kerala, the southern state of India was not such a known destination 25 years back. The state didn’t have quality hotels, resorts or restaurants and was not developed for tourism at all, reports PTI.

What then turned the state’s tourism around so as to make it one of the most visited places in India? Today a substantial number of foreign tourists in India visit Kerala. According to a report by PTI, Keralas' Additional Chief Secretary, Industries and Commerce, T Balakrishnan said, “Identifying tourism as an opportunity area, Ayurveda and the serene backwaters were chosen to build and promote brand Kerala, thus creating a standalone destination.” However, the approach towards converting Kerala into a significant tourist spot was made through banking upon largely on the private sector, he added.

Speaking at the Brand Conclave 2010 organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in Kochi, Balakrishnan said that to create “Green and Cool” image of Kerala, the ministry did not want to restrict promotion and marketing activities regulated by the central government only.

Surveys conducted earlier revealed that while other Indian states rely largely on monuments for promoting tourism, tourists do not visit the country to see only monuments. A conscious target to create “Class Tourism” in Kerala reaped well over the years even though it faced constant opposition from politicians and economists in the nineties, the minister said, according to the Economic Times.

The two natural assets – Ayurveda and the backwaters, unique to Kerala, have given a classic status to the state’s tourism. More importantly, the resources have been strategically and judiciously used for promoting tourism. Houseboats offer luxury accommodation amidst backwaters, there are plenty of Ayurvedic massage and treatment centers across the state and a less-commercialized situation of the place lets one reunite with the nature. Marketing Kerala as the ultimate place for Ayurveda has not only attracted tourists but also physiotherapists, medical practitioners and health professionals from across the world who also visits the place to learn about Ayurvedic treatments.

Recently, India was named Asia's top destination at World Travel Awards 2010; Kerala's fame certainly contributed to the country fetching the honor.

This article has been written by Sanskrity Sinha for IBTIMES.COM


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