KUMARAKOM, India, 29 September 2017: India’s Kerala State has been rebranded a “land of adventure in a bid to attract young international travellers, according to, the Minister of Tourism, Government of Kerala, Kadakampally Surendran.
He made the comments at the opening of the 13th Annual Convention of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India (ATOAI), Wednesday.
Adopting the theme ‘Emerging Pathways’, the annual convention aims to position India as the adventure capital of the world.
The state’s Minister of Tourism, inaugurated the 13th Annual Convention of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India in the presence of Satyajeet Rajan, director general tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and V. Venu, IAS, principal secretary tourism, Government of Kerala.
Over 300 delegates are attending the annual convention taking place this week.
Commenting on the state’s tourism re-branding the Minister said, “Over the years, the tourism industry has changed rapidly, with tourists preferring to go beyond the historic temples, monuments and modern sights….Tourists prefer to explore hills, waterfalls and forests through indulging in adventurous activities. Henceforth, Kerala will be re-branded ‘the land of adventure’ to woo the younger generation by offering activity and water-based tourism.”
The main focus will be on water-based activities and adventure parks. One of the projects will develop a river tour circuit connecting eight rivers in Kannur and Kasaragod districts.
The tourism industry is one of the major revenue-generating sectors in Kerala, contributing total revenue of INR380 billion. Around 1.03 million foreign tourists and 13.2 million domestic tourists visited Kerala in 2016.
By expanding adventure-based activities the state’s tourism office believes it can double foreign tourist arrivals and increase domestic tourist arrivals by 50% by 2021.
Northern Kerala was identified as having vast unexplored adventure tourism potential. However, the conference noted that it would also require rigid compliance with responsible tourism guidelines if it was to benefit communities and pose no threat to the environment.
Kerala Tourism has introduced several stringent safety guidelines for adventure tour operators. These guidelines have been developed in tune with international standards post discussion with various departments.
Commenting on the drive to harness adventure travel potential, ATOAI President Swadesh Kumar said: “Every country has some adventure to offer, but India is a country that offers almost every adventure and active holiday experience that one can seek. Even as the definition of adventure has expanded, India has upped its game to offer all this. From mostly a mountain and wildlife destination, the country now offers much more: skiing, water rafting, treks, off-road adventure, cycling, scuba diving, river cruising and mountaineering.”
The event was attended by adventure tourism stakeholders, including government, tourism boards, and travel industry experts.
The Adventure Tour Operators’ Association of India was founded in 1994 by a handful of members. Now, it is a national body comprising hundreds of members from across the country and abroad, actively promoting adventure and eco-tourism in India.