Kerala State’s tourism policy hailed

Kerala State’s tourism policy hailed

Special Correspondent

KOCHI: T. Balakrishnan, Additional Chief Secretary, Industries & Commerce, has said the State is on the right path in promoting a distinct brand of tourism.

It took about 25 years to attain the current image, he said at the Kerala Brand Conclave 2010, a meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry here on Saturday.

Charting the growth of the brand image, he said the State was an unknown entity in the tourism map two-and-a-half decades ago. Backwaters and Ayurveda were brought to the focal point in a bid to make a difference from the existing image of hot and crowded destinations of North India.

Declaring tourism as an industry and formulating a tourism master plan were among the initiatives which gave a firm footing to the sector. The promotional theme ‘God’s Own Country’ was not a hit initially.

Though it was substituted by ‘Green Kerala,’ the original one was retained later, he said. Tourism infrastructure was grossly inadequate during those days. For instance, Munnar had only a guest house to accommodate tourists when the promotion drive began. Public-private participatory efforts, travel marts and online propaganda converted Kerala into a global player. Eco tourism projects as well as tie-ups with airlines and tour operators helped the image to get elevated further, he said.

R. Dinesh, Joint Managing Director, T.V. Sundaram Iyengar & Sons Limited, in his keynote address, said the perception of the customer was more important than that of the company in building up a brand image. The brand was as good as the implementation of it. Living up to the brand value should be the attitude of every person in the organisation, he said.

Ram Selvaratnam, vice-president, Infosys Technologies Limited, said co-creation was an effective strategy for brand promotion. Several companies designed and made products based on customer feedback.

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