Diaspora meet to spur tourism infrastructure in Kerala

December 23rd, 2008 - 8:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Kochi (Kerala), Dec 23 (IANS) The two day “Ente Naadu”, billed as a platform for the Kerala diaspora to invest in tourism projects in the state, has attracted a good response with more than 500 delegates from 42 countries attending the meet. The key objective of the two day meet is to open up exciting prospects for non resident Keralites (NRKs) through the ‘Bring Home a Friend programme’, which will make them brand ambassadors of Kerala.

It also aims to encourage direct and public-private partnership (PPP) model investments from NRKs in tourism projects at identified locations and to provide a conducive platform for NRKs and resident entrepreneurs to meet and start new business ventures.

Inaugurating the event Tuesday, state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Kerala is experiencing high growth levels and Ente Naadu is a trigger to enable non resident Keralites to pursue their entrepreneurial ventures in their own homeland.

“Kerala’s future lies in the two most dynamic industries - information technology and tourism. Kerala has surpassed the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) prediction of 11.34 percent growth for tourism in the state per year,” he said.

One of the key areas of opportunity is the Malabar region which is still largely underdeveloped in the tourism sector, he added.

More than 500 NRKs from 42 countries were present at the business session where almost 60 proposals were showcased for the diaspora to invest.

Leader of opposition, Oommen Chandy added a bit of humour to the occasion when he said this was one project that the opposition was not going to oppose.

“We congratulate the tourism minister on initiating this project and add that confidence in investing in the state and infrastructure are the two key factors that will bring further success for the tourism sector,” he said.

The two day meet is a Kerala government initiative, organised by the tourism department in association with the industries department.

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