Navaratana ‘Experiessential’ Holidays offer 99 experiences in 9 days; A total of 500 tour packages to be offered in first phase
Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 11: First it was the Kerala Travel Mart. Now, nearly two decades after they came together to launch the country’s only travel trade show by a state, tour operators in ‘God’s Own Country’ will team up once again to create a consortium to sell an unprecedented 500 packages for visitors to the state.
The highlight of the packages, called Navaratana Experiessential Holidays, is a nine ‘gem-like’ days of essential experiences in Kerala, including an insight into village life, community interactions and promotion of sustainable tourism practices.
Tourism Minister Shri A P Anilkumar handing over the first copy of Navaratana ‘Experiessential
brochure to reputed tour operator and travel writer from Sweden, Ms Marianne Hard Af Stegarstad.
ATTOI president Shri Anish Kumar P K and Kerala Tourism Shri Jyothilal are also seen
Tourists will be able to launch their holidays by breaking a coconut at a temple, a traditional method in Kerala of making an auspicious beginning. They could also travel in boats on the state’s iconic lakes and rivers with the local people, and eat the mouthwatering lunch with a Syrian Christian Orthodox family of central Kerala. The more adventurous will also be able to climb the coconut trees, do fishing in the lakes or make coir with village women.
The first phase of packages by the consortium, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI), targeted at foreign tourists was launched by Kerala Tourism Minister Shri A P Anilkumar today and the package is uploaded on ATTOI website http://www.attoi.org/navaratna.html. It will be followed by another phase of packages for domestic tourists.
“The public-private partnership in our state’s tourism sector has been demonstrating to the world the huge benefits in working together. The new alliance of tour operators in Kerala is yet another example of the commitment to promote tourism and contribute to the growth of all sections of the society,” he added.
“The initiative also underlines the determination to continue to serve our esteemed guests from all over the world and present them with life-changing experiences in our state,” the Minister said.
“The state government’s plan allocation to the tourism fund has been increased from Rs 100 Crores to Rs 225 Crores in the course of five years. This will be further increased in the coming budget session,” said the minister.
Shri Anilkumar launched the Navaratana ‘Experiessential’ Holidays package by handing over the first copy of the package brochure to reputed tour operator and travel writer from Sweden, Ms Marianne Hard Af Stegarstad.
The finer elements of the industry consortium by ATTOI involve the coming together of hotels, tour operators and vendors at each destination.
“It is the first time in India that tour operators are gathering under one umbrella for joint promotion of a package,” Shri Anilkumar said.
The move is expected to support the industry partners.
“It is not only a product updating for Kerala, coming out of the same old repeated itineraries and products, but a step that will help rebrand Kerala as a “new destination” and overcome competition from other destinations,” the Minister added.
The Navaratana ‘Experiessential’ Holidays ensure a feeling of freshness through hands-on experience of the “real Kerala” of superficial holidays. Local interactions and highlighting the unique traditions and life style of Kerala are the other components of the package.
“Coming out of the comforts of the hotel room and car and to taking a plunge into the Kerala life is the motto of the new packages,” said Kerala Tourism Secretary Shri Jyothilal.
“The new campaign currently covers places in Southern Kerala. We will further include destinations in Northern Kerala as well,” the Secretary added.
ATTOI president Shri Anish Kumar P K, who was present on the occasion, said it was a collective and focused effort to promote the destination.
“The Navaratana ‘Experiessential’ Holidays is going to redefine the way we see Kerala with 99 unique experiences in nine days,” Shri Kumar said.
The Navaratana ‘Experiessential’ Holidays also envisage interactive cooking demonstrations to experience Kerala’s famous culinary culture, eating dosa at local restaurants, having coffee with a Brahmin family to echo the tradition of ‘Agraharam’ visits, walks through the wavy, lush green paddy fields, and bullock cart rides.
A tour of the Muziris heritage project reviving Kerala’s more than two-millennia-old trade and cultural ties with the rest of the world will be another attraction of the packages.
The packages will also include insights into the state’s time-tested tradition of Ayurveda and full body massages. Jungle boat safari, backwater cruises on houseboats and tea factory visits will be the other highlights.
South Kerala Hoteliers’ Forum President Shri Chacko Paul and ATTOI Secretary Shri Sreekumara Menon also attended the function.