Kerala Tourism’s Roadshow in UK A Great Hit Among Brits
Kerala tourism conducted a major roadshow in UK during the third week of March. The roadshow was unique as it touched all the major cities in the UK including Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow apart from London.
The feedback from British wholesalers indicated that despite the current gloomy economic climate a healthy level of consumer interest and enquiries for long-haul destinations, including Kerala, still existed.
The roadshows provided 22 trade partners from Kerala with a platform to motivate and educate 270 wholesale industry partners, retail travel trade and independent travel counsellors from the four cities.
The tourism department officials, including the director of tourism, Government of Kerala, M Sivashankar who headed the delegation, said the roadshow was organised to sustain and boost the growing interest among British tourists.
He added that appointments and functions during the roadshows facilitate networking with industry decision-makers and allow participants to solidify their relationships with key distribution partners.
The tourism officials are focussing on the new-found love among the British tour operators of organising long-haul destinations and specialised holidays including wellness. The Kerala Ayurveda is considered to be one of the best wellness packages that could be offered and this was showcased during the roadshow .
As the roadshow: had touched upon Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham, the top travel agents from these cities, which are also major cities of UK, were impressed by the quality of tour packages offered by Gods’ own country, according to tourism officials who had taken part in the roadshow.
The Kerala Travel Mart Society, which is a major venue for the interaction with tour operators across the globe held annually in Kerala, has already invited major tour operators from UK to get a first-hand feel for the destination and its products.
To further highlight Kerala in the cities where the roadshows took place, Kerala Tourism also used UK cabs in a high-impact campaign where the cabs were wrapped in colourful visuals of Kerala, including the famous backwaters, houseboats, wildlife and art forms. With 120 Kerala-branded cabs hitting the streets of Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, the campaign offers a new way to convey the state’s attractions while directly connecting with potential visitors from key source cities in the UK.
Also for the first time in the UK, a consumer event was held in London targeting commuters at Victoria Station, the second-bussiest railway terminus in London. Live Kathakali and Mohiniyattam performances and the screening of a film on Kerala at the station drew large crowds who were mesmerised by the stunning dances. Commuters who were happily clicking their cameras away were treated with traditional Kerala snacks. Information kits, spices, brochures and t-shirts were distributed and a “Go Kerala” contest was also held with each winner getting a free-Kerala holiday package. Jet Airways who partnered with Kerala Tourism in this event sponsored the free air tickets.
It is worth mentioning that the United Kingdom is Kerala’s key source market. Arrival figures from the UK have been showing a steady growth, with 141,147 tourists visiting in 2008. Trade partners who participated in the roadshows included Abad Group of Hotels, CGH Earth, Fragrant Nature Retreat & Resort, Indian Tour Planners, Intersight Tours & Travels, Jayasree Travels, Kairali Ayurvedic Resort, Kumarakom Lake Resort, Marvel Tours, MIR Tours, Pioneer Personalised Holidays, Poomulli Aramthampuran’s Ayurveda Mana, Ramada Resort, SITA World Travels, Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort, Spiceland Holidays, The Great India Tour Company, Thomas Hotels & Resorts, The Travancore Heritage, Uday Samudra Leisure Beach Hotel, Vythiri Resort, Kalypso Adventures and Jet Airways.
By Reshmi Padma from Thiruvananthapuram