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Kerala eyes foreign funds for tourism projects

George Iype in Kochi | January 02, 2003 17:09 IST

Kerala, which has emerged as one of the key tourist destinations in the country, will put up 15 mega tourism projects for foreign investment during a major investors' meet that the A K Antony government is preparing for.

The first ever Global Investor Meet that the industry-starved Kerala is organising to lure foreign investment into the state will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Kochi on January 18.

The Antony government has prepared a list of ambitious projects, which it says will attract foreign investment into the state. They include projects in sectors such as information technology, ports, roads and bridges, industrial infrastructure, power, housing, health and education.

But one of the major areas that the Kerala government wants to open up for international investors is tourism. "Tourism is the core sector for which we are certain that there will be many international suitors," Kerala's Tourism Minister K V Thomas told rediff.com.

He said there is immense potential for Kerala tourism -- brand named as God's Own Country -- to grow.

"Indian tourism these days is driven by Kerala tourism because we have branded and positioned it as a high-value upmarket product," Thomas pointed out.

Official statistics say tourism is one of the key economic drivers in Kerala and the tourist arrival in the state touched 5.5 million during 2001, generating revenue of Rs 5000 crore, which is 6.29 per cent of the state's GDP.

It also provides employment to 700,000 people.

Thomas said his ministry has chalked out ambitious plans for highly profitable investment opportunities in tourism and leisure which include development of multiplex amusement parks with bowling alleys and virtual reality games, hi-fi theatre with video-projection facilities, film and video park with ready-to-shoot interiors and exteriors as well as animation studios, state-of-the-art health spas, ropeways that offer a scenic view of the happenings on earth below and irresistible eco-tourism projects in hill stations like Munnar, Thekkady and the like.

One of the key projects to be showcased during the Global Investor Meet will be a proposal for air taxi services between important tourist destinations in the state such as Kumarakom, Ponmudi, Munnar, Thekkady, Kovalam, Kanyakumari and Silent Valley.

Other tourism projects include a five-star health spa and resort at Kochi, an international golf course at Vallarpadam, on the Kochi shore, establishment of a Dream City at Kozhikode, a family entertainment center at Kochi, an Ayurveda resort at the hilly Vagamon and a wetland forest project at Alapuzha.

A key tourism official disclosed that the government has prepared projects worth Rs 18,000 million to be put up before global investors.

"There have been a rush of enquiries from foreign travel and tourism companies and non-resident Indians for the tourism projects that we will be presenting at the Global Investor Meet," the official said.

"All in all we have prepared 15 mega tourism projects. With accolades pouring in from international tourism industry, we are sure that the unique tourist attractions of God's Own Country will attract considerable global investment," the official pointed out.

Recently, ministers and tourism officials from Kerala traveled to the United States to conduct road shows for the global investor meet. It yielded considerable results as two California-based Indian American businessmen agreed to set up heritage villages and resorts across the state.


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Sub: Looking for foreign investment in tourism industry

In fact, this is not a message! I'm actually looking for foreign investment in the tourism industry in Alleppey, in houseboat snd resort. I came ...


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