Wednesday, Sep 25, 2002
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By Our Staff Reporter
Domestic tourism went up by about 25 per cent, while foreign tourist arrivals registered an increase of five per cent, he said in a statement here on Tuesday.
World Tourism Day is being observed on September 27 and this year's motto put forward by the World Tourism Organisation is `Eco-friendly Tourism for Sustainable Development'.
Accordingly, the State Government has prepared a draft for launching 10 eco-tourism projects this year and to prepare a master plan for wildlife protection, Mr. Thomas said.
`Garbage-free Kovalam' is another project proposed to launch this year. The districts have been entrusted the task of developing master plans for promoting eco tourism, depending on the tourism potential in each region.
While Thrissur district's master plan will focus on promoting the State's cultural heritage, Alappuzha district will concentrate on backwater and coastal tourism projects.
The Minister said that the State Government was giving attention to developing the necessary infrastructure too for tourism promotion and said that projects worth Rs. 50 crores had been initiated in this area.
Development of roads in the Chalakkudi-Athirappally, Nemmara-Nelliampathy route and the Nedumbassery-Kochi waterway were some of the projects already undertaken.
Another infrastructure development project worth Rs. 250 crores had also been formulated utilising the funds of Rural Industrial Development-India.
Kerala was leading the way in the tourism sector in the country and the recipient of several international awards, Mr. Thomas pointed out.
The road shows conducted by the Tourism Department in Colombo, Japan, Singapore, Germany and in the Gulf nations were part of the State's new and aggressive tourism promotion policy, he said.
The Government was also paying attention to attracting foreign investors in the tourism sector here. The tourism budget, which had been Rs. 6.76 crores in 1994-95 has gone up to Rs. 80 crores by 2001-02. The target was to attract an investment of Rs. 500 crores in the next five years.
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