Kerala begins its tourism efforts with the help of local governments

Kerala begins its tourism efforts with the help of local governments

Kerala Tourism Department, in conjunction with the Local Self-Government Department, inaugurated the ‘Attraction Challenge’ project on Wednesday in an effort to identify at least one tourism destination within every local self-government institution across the State (LSGD). At a ceremony here today, Minister for Local Self-Government M V Govindan unveiled the project, which was presided over by Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas.

”Apart from providing civic services, LSGIs have to grow to new levels to become self-reliant. We need to plan projects that enable comprehensive growth. Tourism is an ideal sector for panchayats, municipalities and corporations to become job providers and also attain financial stability,” he added.

The project aims at developing tourism by ensuring the participation of the Local Self Government Institutions (LSGIs) right from village panchayats. The State government has given the administrative sanction for Rs 50 crore for the implementation of the project. Govindan, who switched on the ‘Destination Challenge’ web portal, said the initiative would help LSGIs find financial resources, besides explore a lot of unexplored destinations to bring them on the tourism map.

Noting that ‘Destination Challenge’ is a new step forward by Kerala Tourism, Riyas said through the project, the government is planning to develop at least 500 tourism destinations in four years. Riyas said the project comes as part of the efforts by the Department of Tourism to develop a new tourism culture in the State, and bring about a significant change in four years. Marketing campaigns would also be stepped up as part of the initiative.

Thiruvananthapuram Corporation Mayor Arya Rajendran was the chief guest at the function.

”In the first phase of 2022, the State registered a sharp increase in arrival of domestic tourists, touching around 38 lakh. ‘Destination Challenge’ will help develop tourism circuits in LSGIs and thereby attract more domestic tourists,” he added.

The Department of Tourism would bear 60 per cent (maximum Rs 50 lakh) of the total project cost. LSGIs can get the rest of the amount either from their own fund or through sponsorship.

Besides identifying at least one destination under each LSGI, the initiative envisions linking tourism activities with various projects of LSGIs, thereby giving an impetus to domestic tourism, which has gained popularity post the pandemic.

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