• Loyola Old Boys’ Association Awards Presented

    The Loyola Old Boys’ Association (LOBA), the alumni association of the old students of the Loyola School, Thiruvananthapuram, today presented its annual Global Leadership Award(GLA) and Young Achiever’s Award for this year. Air Marshal B Suresh PVSM AVSM VM ADC AOC in C, Southern Air Command, the Chief Guest for functionorganised at Sri Mulam Club here, presented the Global Leadership Award to Dr Sujith Varghese Thomas, while Loyola School Principal Father Devassy Paul S J presented the LOBA Young Achiever’s Award to Sanjay Vijayakumar.

    Dr SujithVarhese Thomas had spent the last 11 years rebuilding the 100-year-old Broadwell Hospital at Fatehpur, UP, from a dilapidated and ramshackle structure in one of the most backward districts of the country into one of the finest in UP. Sanjay Vijayakumarfounded one of the finest start-ups from Kerala MobMe and is Chairman of the Startup Village Board among many other positions of repute.
    The Loyola Old Boys’ Association (LOBA) launched its annual Global Leadership Awards (GLA) in 2015. The award, a first among schools in India, is into its fourth year.Dr. C V Ram Mohan, President, Loyola Old Boys’ Association (LOBA), presided over the awards ceremony. LOBA has a membership of over 4000 old boys spread across the globe.

    The LOBA Global Leadership Award  winner Dr Sujith Varghese Thomas, of the 1993 batch, did his MBBS and MS in general surgery from CMC, Vellore. With his dedication and painstaking efforts, he converted the ancient Broadwell hospital into one of rural UP’s best. He has initiated many community projects to help the citizens of the area with primary and preventive health care. Their palliative care unit is a model for the entire state today, giving people in their dying hours the dignity they deserve. The journey was laden with pitfalls - suspicion, administrative apathy, lack of funds, and even death threats. Sujith and his family have shown what can be achieved with grit, compassion and single-minded focus. He is truly a leader and role model for Loyolites, and indeed, for every Indian.
    The Young Achiever’s awardee Sanjay Vijayakumar, of the 2000 batch, is the recipient of the Young Achiever Award. His present roles include Chairman of the Startup Village Board, Kochi; member of the board of the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Kerala; member of the AICTE startup implementation committee; among others. Founding MobMe straight out of college and raising it to international fame was only the beginning. He remains passionate in encouraging youngsters to build startups in multiple states in India, with the backing of the governments and NASSCOM. He is also deeply interested in developing curricula for the students of today to make them future-ready.

  • KSUM set to launch ‘Incubator Yatra’ on June 19

    Incubators/startups to get awareness on various topics
    In a new initiative to disseminate its schemes and strengthen the startup ecosystem in the state by bringing activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) will be organizing ‘Incubator Yatra’ covering all districts in the state.
    The first phase of the Yatra will cover 10 incubators in Thiruvananthapuram district. It will be launched at B-Hub, Technopark here on June 19.
    Being organised in association with Bank of India, KSUM will visit over 40 incubators in the state and interact with the officials and startups on a range of topics for the benefit of young entrepreneurs in the more than 1,000-km journey.  
    “A major objective of such an initiative is to clearly communicate that KSUM is not an incubator but the State nodal agency to support the startups and give a single point of contact for all communications,” said Mr. Saji Gopinath, CEO of KSUM.
    “This will help to bring the activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella, and also smoothen the information flow to and fro,” he added.
    KSUM will brief them about developing mentor network and also share the template of best practices in running an incubator in the state. It has also plans to identify good startups and establish a channel in the incubator whom they can connect with KSUM.
    The objectives of ‘Incubator Yatra’ include bringing the activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella and creating a milieu for smooth sharing of information. It is also meant for understanding the performance of startups and profiling them accordingly.  

    “This yatra will help to do the technology sector-wise segmentation of startups and communicating them about the plan. A database can be built accordingly,” Mr. Gopinath said.
    Startups that are out of the incubation space and located in the remote locations of the state will be identified in the journey. They will be on-boarded to KSUM’s portal to generate inclusiveness in the startup facilitation by the state government.

    KSUM’s activities and scheme awareness sessions will be conducted in each incubator.  Registrations with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as also KSUM’s unique ID registrations will be tracked and maximised.  
    Handbooks, scheme books and grievance redressal forms will be distributed to all incubators during the journey.

    KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state. 

  • Winners for Clint memorial online international painting competition announced

    The winners of the International Children’s Online Painting Competition in memory of prodigious child artist Edmund Clint were declared today after the jury went through close to 39,000 works it received from the stipulated 4-16 age group across as many as 96 countries.
        
    State Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran, who holds the portfolio of Kerala Tourism that organised the event, announced a list of 110 winners of whom 15 are eligible for attractive tour packages with family. Ten of the 15 are from foreign countries.

    The first prize went to Parth Joshi, 12, of Vadodara in Gujarat. He, along with four other top winners from India, become eligible for a five-night Kerala travel accompanied by two members of the family, the minister told a press conference here.

    Fourteen-year-old Nafisa Tabassum Authay of Bangladesh won the second prize. She, along with nine other children from abroad who won the top prizes, will be eligible for a five-night Kerala tour with two members from the family.

    Aaradhya P.G, a six-year-old Malayali girl, fetched the third prize. She figures among 40 prize winners from the host state who will receive a cash award of Rs 10,000 each.
    The first three prize-winners will get a certificate and a memento. Twenty other winners, too, will receive mementoes. The artists whose works were shortlisted will get special prizes, while all the participants will receive certificates.

    Clint (1976-83) was a Kochiite who drew more than 25,000 pictures in 2,522 days of his life before a prolonged illness cut short his life. Born to Mr M T Joseph (who died earlier this year) and Mrs Chinnamma Joseph, the boy’s life and works went on to earn increasing global acclaim. Clint’s life has found portrayal in seven books and two documentaries besides in a 2017 Malayalam feature film.

    Clint was aged four when he topped a painting competition where a 16-year-old emerged second. That led the organisers to fix the age bracket for this online event.
    “Nowhere in the world have we heard of a painting competition inviting attention to a place (Kerala),” Shri Kadakampally Surendran said.

    The 2018 edition of the competition received larger and more widespread response than the first (2017), the minister noted, adding the number of entries this time was 38,995, against 5,000 in the debut edition. This edition of the competition stands out as it was conducted on a larger global scale, he added.

    The time for applying for the online event was September 1, 2018 to January 31 this year. The website saw 48,397 registrations from 133 countries during the period. Of the 38,995 paintings that vied for prizes, 6,542 were from abroad. Among the rest from India, 5,713 paintings were from Kerala.

    The event was globally publicised by carrying out a campaign in 23 languages (11 Indian and 12 foreign), Kerala Tourism Secretary Mrs Rani George said. “We estimate the information about the competition to have reached 50 lakh people,” she added.

    The online competition boosted the number of visitors at the Kerala Tourism website, according to Kerala Tourism Director Mr P Bala Kiran. “While the portal got 40 lakh hits in 2017-18, the figure surged to one crore hits, from around 200 countries, so far this  year,” he pointed out.

    The competition jury comprised experts comprising Bihar Museum Director Mr Mohammed Yusuf, artists Mr Vrindavan Solanki (Gujarat), Ms Vipta Kapadia (Mumbai) and Prof Suresh K Nair (Varanasi), besides Kerala Lalithakala Akademi chairman Mr Nemom Pushparaj and art critic Mr M  L Johnny.

    Out of the total applications, the judges chose 3,000 pictures in the first phase. These were then thoroughly scrutinised, leading the jury to arrive at its list of winners.
    The prizes are not just for the participants. Those who encouraged children to take part in the competition in a big way win awards as ‘promoters’. They total ten—five from India and the rest abroad. These promoters, too, are eligible for Kerala Tourism’s five-night package tour in the state.

    In all, 55 people have become eligible for the tour packages. They will be given a reception at the Kannur airport upstate, taken for the travel and given away the prizes at the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.

     

  • World Oceans Day Celebrated at Uday Samudra

    In the occasion of World Oceans day that falls on the 8th of June 2019, Uday Samudra, Kovalam in association with Ocean Love; an organization that fights against oceanpollution and pollutants organized an event spreading the awareness of how important our oceans are and how we can save it from the present crisis. Inaugurated by the president of Kerala Travel Mart, Mr. Baby Mathew, the event focused on various marine related topics such as marine pollution, marine future, and statistics of the marine pollution and the after effects of Global warming and climate change.

    Students from various educational institutions such as Sai Krishna Public School, Christ Nagar, University of Kerala and S.M.V. school participated in the event and were given chances to express their ideas, opinions and even clear their doubts. Following the event had various eye opening seminars from Mr. Satish Babu, Dr. Biju Kumar, and Dr. Katherine Owen.

    Marine Pollution has become a very serious matter nowadays effecting even the human growth drastically. The steep decrease in ocean treasures and extinction of marine living things is purely because of the land pollutants and we have to recognize these harmful factors to fix them with the right solutions.

    “The core intention of this event and the beach cleaning carried out today morning along the Kerala coastal belt with the support of Kerala Travel Mart members is to educate the younger generation about the marine debris and the importance of protecting our oceans” says Mr. Raja Gopaal Iyer, Founder and Chairman; Ocean Love- Beach and Marine Protection Council and CEO; UDS Hotels.

  • Berlin Travel Festival announces the theme of the next event and opens exhibitor registration

    Following the success of the two previous events, from 6 to 8 March 2020 the Berlin Travel Festival will be taking place for the third time, thus bringing a new generation of travellers together with new forms of travel. As the partner event of ITB Berlin this innovative format will augment the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show on three consecutive days in the heart of the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. In particular, it targets audiences versed in social media and eager for adventure. The event will be held at Arena Berlin again and will attract exhibitors, change-makers, brands, creatives, influencers and industry insiders alike. The organisers’ theme focus is on the individual’s search for paradise. Exhibitors who register by 30 June can take advantage of attractive rates.

    Taking as its main theme ‘Where is paradise?’, the festival will underline its pioneering role in promoting mindful, sustainable and responsible travel. The main focus is that if ‘paradise’ is to be more than a mere sales argument then both providers and customers must take a hard look at how, where and why people travel, and replace quick deals and out-and-out consumerism with social responsibility and ecological awareness as well as becoming involved at local level. Speakers and exhibitors will also examine this topic in detail.

    Exhibitors can register now

    Exhibitors can register now for the forthcoming Berlin Travel Festival in March 2020. The event targets destinations, tour operators, publications, accommodation, equipment and clothing suppliers, transportation companies and start-ups. For more details about exhibitors: www.berlintravelfestival.com/for-exhibitors/

    Register early and benefit from attractive rates

    Exhibitors who register by 30 June 2019 can take advantage of a ten per cent discount on stand fees. Regular exhibitors can benefit from a 15 per cent discount providing they register by 30 June 2019. NGOs and non-profit organisations will again receive 50 per cent discounts. To register please visit: www.berlintravelfestival.com/register/.

    Last March, more than 130 national and international exhibitors were represented at the Berlin Travel Festival. In praising the event they said it was “professionally curated”, “not typical for a fair”, “a completely new experience”, and emphasised its disruptive conceptual approach. The festival featured a programme of stage events that combined lectures, workshops, master classes and film screenings. Exhibitors were delighted that some 11,000 visitors attended the event, who they said were open-minded, interested in sustainable travel, eager for adventure, and not least very knowledgeable on the subject.

  • CISSA to OrganiseNational-level Training Programme on Plant Taxonomy and Biodiversity

    The city-based Center for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) will organize a five-day national level workshop on Plant Taxonomy & Biodiversity. The programme, being held with the support of the UN University acknowledged Regional Center of Expertise and the National Biodiversity Authority will have the presence of a range of experts.

    To be organized at the Maria Rani Centre, Palloti Lane, Gandhipuram,Sreekaryam, from July 8-12, the CISSA training programmeaims to plug the knowledge gaps in biodiversity and taxonomy, and overcome the shortage of trained teachers, curators, and research scholars, in this domain.  Modern insights on the conservation of biodiversity and need for plant taxonomy will be discussed at the event.

    The importance of biodiversity and its role in the survival of human and other species will also be discussed. Addressing relevant matters like the decline in biodiversity and the need for the sustainable use of natural resources, the workshop will look into the significance of taxonomy. The event organizers intend to resolve the lack of expert educationists, curators, and scientists in this segment.The training programme is open to all College and University teachers, Research Scholars, M.Sc FinalYear Students from Botany and related disciplines who are interested to study plant taxonomy and biodiversity.

    Those who are interested can send in their applications along with a brief resume, and duly filled registration form and registration fee on or before June 30, 2019. Only 40 candidates will be admitted on a first-cum-first serve basis. Candidates who would be selected for the Training Programme will be notified on July 1, 2019. Registration will be held separately for teachers, students, and delegates. The registration fee for College Teachers/ Scientist and their accompanying person (with accommodation) will be Rs 8850. Research scholars and students will have to pay a registration fee of Rs. 7050, including the stay. Registration fee for Delegates without sans accommodation is Rs. 5900.

    Payment can be done via DD/ Bankers Cheque to Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.  Bank Transfer can be made to Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), SBI, Vellayambalam, Thiruvananthapuram, 67021680619, SBIN0070308.For more details, please call: 9895375211.

  • TIME Hotels to open five new properties across Middle East in 2019

    TIME will add new properties in Dubai, Sharjah and Saudi Arabia – as well expanding its brand presence to Egypt

    Enlarged portfolio to be showcased at Arabian Travel Market

     TIME Hotels,  the UAE-headquartered hospitality company and hotel operator, is set to announce plans to open five new properties across the Middle East during 2019 – as it targets 35 properties by 2025.

    The properties, which will see the growth and launch of existing as well as new TIME Hotel brands to key territories throughout the region, will be unveiled during Arabian Travel Market 2019, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre from 28 April – 1 May.

    Mohamed Awadalla, CEO TIME Hotels, said: “Our pipeline of hotels and residences meet the demands of multiple value-driven markets by offering a high-quality experience right across all of our branded properties.

    “We currently have 15 properties in operation across the UAE and wider GCC with new additions in Dubai, Sharjah and Saudi Arabia scheduled for this year as well as extending our presence to Egypt - further supporting our strategic business plan to increase our total portfolio to 35 properties across the Middle East by the end of 2025.”

    TIME Hotels will debut its TIME Express Hotels brand with the opening of a property in Sharjah, during the third quarter of 2019. The three-star TIME Express Hotel Al Khan will feature 55 keys in total and is located 15 minutes from Dubai International Airport, 20 minutes from Sharjah International Airport and a 15-minute walk from Al Khan Beach.

    In Dubai, TIME Asma Hotel is scheduled to open during the second quarter of 2019. The four-star property, located in Al Barsha, will feature 232 rooms including 12 suites, a gym, swimming pool, jacuzzi, four meeting rooms, a business centre and two restaurants.

    “Plans are in place for two floors of the hotel to be reserved exclusively for female travellers, with dedicated services, including: personalised room service, a female-only check-in counter, dedicated ladies-only guest relations, in-house baby-sitting services, and in-room tablets highlighting all of the services offered for women as well as enhanced bathroom amenities in each room,” said Awadalla.

    Meanwhile, TIME Hotels’ international openings in Saudi Arabia and Egypt demonstrate the brand’s strength and popularity in markets outside of the UAE.

    TIME Hotels opened its second property in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of April. Featuring 28 deluxe apartments - comprising four one-bedroom units and 24 two-bedroom units – TIME Dammam Residence is located 35 minutes from King Fahad International Airport and just minutes from various shopping and dining destinations in Dammam.

    Joining TIME Dammam Residence in the kingdom will be TIME Golden Tower Al Khobar. Scheduled to open August 2019, the 65-key property will be strategically located on Al Khobar Main Street and within close proximity to Al Khobar Waterfront. The property will feature a roof-top garden lounge, a gym and a high-tech business centre.

    In Egypt, TIME Nozha Beach Aqua Park Hotel & Resort will open its doors during Q3 2019. The four-star property – located in Ras Sudr, on Egypt’s Red Sea Coast – will feature 52 rooms and four suits as well as five castles, 93 villas, 891 chalets and 136 studios.

    Located along a 945 metre stretch of white sand beach, the resort will feature the largest aqua entertainment complex in Ras Sudr, complete with various water slides, wave pools and water sport activities. 

    Awadalla, said: “This is a very exciting chapter in TIME Hotels’ short history as we open TIME Nozha Aqua Park & Resort, our first beach resort and first property in Egypt. Built with leisure and adventure visitors in mind, this resort is fully-equipped with everything the modern traveller requires for the perfect family getaway.”

    These scheduled openings follow the signing of a new management agreement by TIME Hotels Management to operate Dunes Hotel Apartments’ three properties located throughout Dubai.

    TIME Hotels took over day-to-day operations of TIME Dunes Hotel Apartment Al Barsha, TIME Dunes Hotel Apartments Al Qusais and TIME Dunes Hotel Apartments Oud Metha following the signing of the agreement on 24th January 2019.

    “It has been a busy year for TIME Hotels with a raft of properties announced with several of them due to come online within the next 12 months. We have been very strategic with our openings, identifying and assessing the demand within the market and implementing the most suitable brand from the TIME portfolio, that best matches that demand and we’re looking forward to bringing more properties into our portfolio,” added Awadalla.

    TIME Hotels will be exhibiting on stand HC0620 during this year’s Arabian Travel Market.

  • ITB Asia returns with its highest ever number of participating National Tourism Organisations (NTOs)

    Messe Berlin’s travel trade show has already seen a 24.4% increase in exhibition demand from NTOs and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs) compared to 2018.

    ITB Asia is back and with four months to go before it opens its doors on 16 October 2019, it is already attracting unprecedented exhibition demand from National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) and Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs). With a total of 58 NTOs and RTOs, this represents a year-on-year growth of 23.8% and 25% respectively in the securing of exhibition space compared to 2018. This surpasses previous levels set for ITB Asia by this stage in the year.

    Building on the 2018 trade show’s record-breaking number of attendees of over 11,000, the 2019 event will see at least 19 new NTOs and RTOs. Thus far, the three contingents with the largest exhibition spaces registered are from Indonesia, Russia and South Korea. The strongest participation comes from Asia, with Southeast Asia well represented, and newcomers Myanmar and RTO, Jakarta, taking part. North Asia will see an expanded South Korean contingent with RTOs from Gyeonggi, Jeju and Seoul securing their own booths. South Asia will also see a larger presence as new exhibitors such as Bhutan, the Maldives, and Sri Lanka join India while Central Asia is represented by Uzbekistan which will be taking part for the first time.  Europe has seen a 37.8% increase in the number exhibitors buoyed by an increase in interest from Southern and Eastern Europe. The Balkan states of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia will be taking part for the first time along with the Czech Republic and Estonia. Compared to previous years, Hungary and Russia will also bring larger contingents. New RTOs from East Bavaria, Franconia, Frankfurt and Magdeburg will also be part of a larger German contingent with existing destinations like Berlin and Saxony, present at ITB Asia 2019.

    “We had a remarkable turnout in 2018 and all the signs point to ITB Asia 2019 being even more successful. NTOs and RTOs are the backbone for creating established inbound and outbound travel. The increased interest and high confirmed demand for exhibition space from NTOs and RTOs at ITB Asia 2019 affirms the value associated with ITB Asia as the leading travel trade show for Asia and beyond,” said Katrina Leung, Managing Director, Messe Berlin (Singapore), organiser of ITB Asia. The stunning growth in exhibitor demand is fuelled by growth in tourism globally. The World Tourism Organization (UNTWO), highlighted that tourism is one of the most powerful drivers of economic growth and development. The predicted target of 1.4 billion international tourist arrivals by 2020 was reached in 2018.[1] The Asia-Pacific region contributed 343 million international tourist arrivals into the region for 2018, a growth of 6% compared to the previous year.[2] ITB Asia 2019 will return to its familiar venue of the Sands Expo & Convention Centre as part of its partnership with Marina Bay Sands as the Official Partner Hotel. This year will see oneworld, taking part as the Official Airline Alliance for the first time.  As with other ITB shows, exhibitors will also be drawn from a wide range of companies and representatives from travel agencies and operators, business travel and MICE, travel technology, accommodation, and transport. The eleventh edition of ITB Asia last year saw more than 127 countries represented, making ITB Asia the most international travel trade show in the region. The show proved to be an especially effective business platform, with one in two buyers signing contracts with exhibitors.

  • KFL to increase output to help farmers despite market pulls: Minister

    Since the interests of dairy farmers are its primary concern, the public sector Kerala Feeds Limited (KFL) will go ahead with plans to increase production of good quality cattle feed at affordable price, unfazed by market pulls, Minister for Forest, Animal Husbandry and Dairy Development Shri K Raju said here on Saturday.   

     “Though KFL is experiencing loss, it will ensure availability of good quality cattle feed in sufficient quantity by stepping up production. It has been under pressure to raise the price in tune with that of other brands in the market ,” Shri Raju said while inaugurating the state-level workshop organised to mark the World Dairy Day.

    The Thodupuzha unit of KFL would be opened soon, further increasing the output of its premium cattle feed brands, he said.

    Stating that efforts are in the final stages to bring in a law to ensure the quality of cattle feed, which will be the first in the country, the Minister said the officials concerned had held several meetings in drawing up the draft for it.

    On the loss suffered by dairy farmers during the devastating flood last year, Shri Raju said permanent elevated cattle sheds will be set up in flood-pronet areas to avert disasters in future.       

    “For the first time, the State Government earmarked Rs 5 crore in the budget for writing off the debts of dairy farmers. The Centre has sanctioned a Rs 43 crore-project for helping dairy farmers. The project, under which upto  Rs 30,000 will be provided for each farmer for buying cows, will be launched  on June 8,  in Ernakulam,” he said.

    The state’s  milk production increased by three per cent during 2018-19, notwithstanding the floods, he said.  

    “The government had allotted Rs 107 crore in the budget for the dairy sector. Many projects are on the anvil to monitor the quality of milk coming from outside the state,” he added.   

    Shri V S Sivakumar, MLA, who presided over the function, said Milma has to ramp up its market presence to pip the substandard milk and milk products deluging the Kerala market. 

     Shri Devendra Kumar Singh IAS, Addl. Chief Secretary, and Agricultural Production Commissioner, said Kerala stood second after Punjab in the productivity of milk. 

    Mr S. Sreekumar, Director, Dairy Development Department, welcomed the gathering.

    Addressing the valedictory session, KFL Chairman Shri  K S Indusekharan Nair  said the  PSU has been facing loss by holding the price of cattle feed affordable to farmers.  The Government should back KFL in sustaining  its policy of serving the interests of farmers, he said.

    He also suggested that the dairy farmers should be extended support to convert the conventional farms into high-tech ones, which will accentuate the efforts to achieve self-sufficiency in milk production.

    District Panchayat President Shri V K Madhu, Shri P.A. Balan Master, Chairman, Milma, and Shri John Theruvath, Chairman, Dairy Production Union, Ernakulam Region, were also present. 

    Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Shri V K Prashant and Deputy Mayor Smt Rakhi Ravikumar distributed presents to the winners of painting competition held on the occasion.

     Shri  V P Suresh, Kumar Deputy Director, proposed a vote of thanks.

  • Tourist arrivals in Kerala up 6.82% in Jan-Mar 2019

    Giving strong indications that Kerala had swiftly overcome the ordeal of last year’s devastating floods, tourist arrivals in the state shot up by an impressive 6.82 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 as compared to the figures of the corresponding period in the previous year.

     During January-March 2019, the total number of tourist arrivals (both domestic and foreign) was 46,12,937 as compared to 43,18,406 during the same period in 2018.

     The number of domestic tourists arriving in the state was 41,90,468 as against the figures of 38,77,712 during the corresponding period in 2018, registering an increase of 8.07 per cent. However, the arrival of foreign tourists suffered a dip of 4.14 per cent.

     The increase in domestic tourist footfalls, especially in Ernakulam, Alappuzha and Idukki — the districts that suffered the brunt of floods that ravaged large swathes of Kerala in August-September last year — is a pointer that the state’s tourism has recovered completely from January 2019 onwards.

     In fact, Ernakulam, with an increase of 108,169 domestic tourists, registered the highest growth among the 14 districts of the state. The total number of domestic tourist arrivals in this district was pegged at 9,96,091 during January-March this year as against 8,87,922 in the corresponding period of 2018.

         The districts of Idukki, Alappuzha, Kannur and Kozhikode also registered decent growth during the period. The number of domestic tourists was 3,43,938 (2,48,052 in 2018) in Idukki, 1,80,562 (1,32,442) in Alappuzha, 2,10,247 (1,84,389) in Kannur and 3,20,795 (2,76,188) in Kozhikode.

     Kollam, Kottayam, Malappuram, Wayanad and Palakkad were among the other districts that registered an uptick in domestic tourist arrivals.

    Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram districts showed negative trends in domestic arrivals, which was possibly due to the downtrend in the arrival of pilgrim-tourists to the temples of Guruvayur and Sree Padmanabhaswamy.

     “Last year’s floods were unprecedented in fury and devastation and it battered large swathes of the state, affecting its infrastructure that had a bearing on the tourism sector. There was rampant apprehension that Kerala’s tourism would take a long time to recover. But we were able to allay these apprehensions by swiftly putting in place an effective action plan to win back the confidence of tourists,” said Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran. “The uptick in domestic tourist arrivals is a strong testimony to it.”

     The growth in tourist arrivals was due to the Tourism Department’s sustained promotion campaigns from November last year. The first among these was ‘It’s time for KERALA campaign’ from November 2018 to January 2019. It was followed by ‘Human by Nature’- part of the marketing initiative to refurbish the perception of the state’s tourism sector. The video film, launched in February, has been designed to appeal to both high spenders and backpackers and firmly entrench Kerala’s tourism in a competitive global marketplace.

     As for the foreign tourist arrivals during January-March, the total number stood at 4,22,469 as against the figures of 4,40,694 in the corresponding period of the previous year, registering a decline of 4.14 per cent.

     Thiruvananthapuram (including Kovalam and Varkala) witnessed the highest downfall with a decrease of 27,760 tourists. The total number of footfalls of foreign visitors in the district was 1,08,787 as against 1,36,547 in the corresponding period of 2018.

     Ernakulam district registered a downfall of 22,667 tourists, but the districts of Idukki, Alappuzha and Kottayam (Kumarakom) marked a decent growth with an increase of 8,976, 8,541 and 9,593 tourists over the corresponding period of 2018.

     The other districts that registered an uptick in foreign tourist arrivals were Kannur, Kasaragod, Kollam, Kozhikode, Pathanamthitta and Thrissur.

     Tourism Secretary Smt. Rani George said the growth in domestic tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2019 is a strong reflection of the state government’s efforts to repair the damage in double-quick time. “It sent out a message to tourists that things were fast becoming normal in the flood-ravaged Kerala. Our efforts have now handsomely paid off with steady growth in tourist arrivals, and it has reflected in the first quarter of the current year,” she added.

        Tourism Director Shri P. Bala Kiran said the appreciable growth in domestic tourist arrivals in the face of one of the worst natural calamities brought to the fore not only the concerted efforts of the government but also the resilience of the people and the entire stakeholders of tourism industry to revive the sector, which is a major pillar of the state’s economy.

     “This May, we launched the ‘Dream Season’ campaign to woo travellers during the monsoon by combining the magic of rains, wellness tourism, especially Ayurveda treatments, and backwaters. Its impact will be seen in the second quarter of 2019,” he added.

     

KSUM set to launch ‘Incubator Yatra’ on June 19

Incubators/startups to get awareness on various topics
In a new initiative to disseminate its schemes and strengthen the startup ecosystem in the state by bringing activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) will be organizing ‘Incubator Yatra’ covering all districts in the state.
The first phase of the Yatra will cover 10 incubators in Thiruvananthapuram district. It will be launched at B-Hub, Technopark here on June 19.
Being organised in association with Bank of India, KSUM will visit over 40 incubators in the state and interact with the officials and startups on a range of topics for the benefit of young entrepreneurs in the more than 1,000-km journey.  
“A major objective of such an initiative is to clearly communicate that KSUM is not an incubator but the State nodal agency to support the startups and give a single point of contact for all communications,” said Mr. Saji Gopinath, CEO of KSUM.
“This will help to bring the activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella, and also smoothen the information flow to and fro,” he added.
KSUM will brief them about developing mentor network and also share the template of best practices in running an incubator in the state. It has also plans to identify good startups and establish a channel in the incubator whom they can connect with KSUM.
The objectives of ‘Incubator Yatra’ include bringing the activities of all the incubators under a single umbrella and creating a milieu for smooth sharing of information. It is also meant for understanding the performance of startups and profiling them accordingly.  

“This yatra will help to do the technology sector-wise segmentation of startups and communicating them about the plan. A database can be built accordingly,” Mr. Gopinath said.
Startups that are out of the incubation space and located in the remote locations of the state will be identified in the journey. They will be on-boarded to KSUM’s portal to generate inclusiveness in the startup facilitation by the state government.

KSUM’s activities and scheme awareness sessions will be conducted in each incubator.  Registrations with Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) as also KSUM’s unique ID registrations will be tracked and maximised.  
Handbooks, scheme books and grievance redressal forms will be distributed to all incubators during the journey.

KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state. 

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Winners for Clint memorial online international painting competition announced

The winners of the International Children’s Online Painting Competition in memory of prodigious child artist Edmund Clint were declared today after the jury went through close to 39,000 works it received from the stipulated 4-16 age group across as many as 96 countries.
    
State Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran, who holds the portfolio of Kerala Tourism that organised the event, announced a list of 110 winners of whom 15 are eligible for attractive tour packages with family. Ten of the 15 are from foreign countries.

The first prize went to Parth Joshi, 12, of Vadodara in Gujarat. He, along with four other top winners from India, become eligible for a five-night Kerala travel accompanied by two members of the family, the minister told a press conference here.

Fourteen-year-old Nafisa Tabassum Authay of Bangladesh won the second prize. She, along with nine other children from abroad who won the top prizes, will be eligible for a five-night Kerala tour with two members from the family.

Aaradhya P.G, a six-year-old Malayali girl, fetched the third prize. She figures among 40 prize winners from the host state who will receive a cash award of Rs 10,000 each.
The first three prize-winners will get a certificate and a memento. Twenty other winners, too, will receive mementoes. The artists whose works were shortlisted will get special prizes, while all the participants will receive certificates.

Clint (1976-83) was a Kochiite who drew more than 25,000 pictures in 2,522 days of his life before a prolonged illness cut short his life. Born to Mr M T Joseph (who died earlier this year) and Mrs Chinnamma Joseph, the boy’s life and works went on to earn increasing global acclaim. Clint’s life has found portrayal in seven books and two documentaries besides in a 2017 Malayalam feature film.

Clint was aged four when he topped a painting competition where a 16-year-old emerged second. That led the organisers to fix the age bracket for this online event.
“Nowhere in the world have we heard of a painting competition inviting attention to a place (Kerala),” Shri Kadakampally Surendran said.

The 2018 edition of the competition received larger and more widespread response than the first (2017), the minister noted, adding the number of entries this time was 38,995, against 5,000 in the debut edition. This edition of the competition stands out as it was conducted on a larger global scale, he added.

The time for applying for the online event was September 1, 2018 to January 31 this year. The website saw 48,397 registrations from 133 countries during the period. Of the 38,995 paintings that vied for prizes, 6,542 were from abroad. Among the rest from India, 5,713 paintings were from Kerala.

The event was globally publicised by carrying out a campaign in 23 languages (11 Indian and 12 foreign), Kerala Tourism Secretary Mrs Rani George said. “We estimate the information about the competition to have reached 50 lakh people,” she added.

The online competition boosted the number of visitors at the Kerala Tourism website, according to Kerala Tourism Director Mr P Bala Kiran. “While the portal got 40 lakh hits in 2017-18, the figure surged to one crore hits, from around 200 countries, so far this  year,” he pointed out.

The competition jury comprised experts comprising Bihar Museum Director Mr Mohammed Yusuf, artists Mr Vrindavan Solanki (Gujarat), Ms Vipta Kapadia (Mumbai) and Prof Suresh K Nair (Varanasi), besides Kerala Lalithakala Akademi chairman Mr Nemom Pushparaj and art critic Mr M  L Johnny.

Out of the total applications, the judges chose 3,000 pictures in the first phase. These were then thoroughly scrutinised, leading the jury to arrive at its list of winners.
The prizes are not just for the participants. Those who encouraged children to take part in the competition in a big way win awards as ‘promoters’. They total ten—five from India and the rest abroad. These promoters, too, are eligible for Kerala Tourism’s five-night package tour in the state.

In all, 55 people have become eligible for the tour packages. They will be given a reception at the Kannur airport upstate, taken for the travel and given away the prizes at the capital city of Thiruvananthapuram.

 

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World Oceans Day Celebrated at Uday Samudra

In the occasion of World Oceans day that falls on the 8th of June 2019, Uday Samudra, Kovalam in association with Ocean Love; an organization that fights against oceanpollution and pollutants organized an event spreading the awareness of how important our oceans are and how we can save it from the present crisis. Inaugurated by the president of Kerala Travel Mart, Mr. Baby Mathew, the event focused on various marine related topics such as marine pollution, marine future, and statistics of the marine pollution and the after effects of Global warming and climate change.

Students from various educational institutions such as Sai Krishna Public School, Christ Nagar, University of Kerala and S.M.V. school participated in the event and were given chances to express their ideas, opinions and even clear their doubts. Following the event had various eye opening seminars from Mr. Satish Babu, Dr. Biju Kumar, and Dr. Katherine Owen.

Marine Pollution has become a very serious matter nowadays effecting even the human growth drastically. The steep decrease in ocean treasures and extinction of marine living things is purely because of the land pollutants and we have to recognize these harmful factors to fix them with the right solutions.

“The core intention of this event and the beach cleaning carried out today morning along the Kerala coastal belt with the support of Kerala Travel Mart members is to educate the younger generation about the marine debris and the importance of protecting our oceans” says Mr. Raja Gopaal Iyer, Founder and Chairman; Ocean Love- Beach and Marine Protection Council and CEO; UDS Hotels.

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Berlin Travel Festival announces the theme of the next event and opens exhibitor registration

Following the success of the two previous events, from 6 to 8 March 2020 the Berlin Travel Festival will be taking place for the third time, thus bringing a new generation of travellers together with new forms of travel. As the partner event of ITB Berlin this innovative format will augment the World’s Leading Travel Trade Show on three consecutive days in the heart of the Berlin district of Kreuzberg. In particular, it targets audiences versed in social media and eager for adventure. The event will be held at Arena Berlin again and will attract exhibitors, change-makers, brands, creatives, influencers and industry insiders alike. The organisers’ theme focus is on the individual’s search for paradise. Exhibitors who register by 30 June can take advantage of attractive rates.

Taking as its main theme ‘Where is paradise?’, the festival will underline its pioneering role in promoting mindful, sustainable and responsible travel. The main focus is that if ‘paradise’ is to be more than a mere sales argument then both providers and customers must take a hard look at how, where and why people travel, and replace quick deals and out-and-out consumerism with social responsibility and ecological awareness as well as becoming involved at local level. Speakers and exhibitors will also examine this topic in detail.

Exhibitors can register now

Exhibitors can register now for the forthcoming Berlin Travel Festival in March 2020. The event targets destinations, tour operators, publications, accommodation, equipment and clothing suppliers, transportation companies and start-ups. For more details about exhibitors: www.berlintravelfestival.com/for-exhibitors/

Register early and benefit from attractive rates

Exhibitors who register by 30 June 2019 can take advantage of a ten per cent discount on stand fees. Regular exhibitors can benefit from a 15 per cent discount providing they register by 30 June 2019. NGOs and non-profit organisations will again receive 50 per cent discounts. To register please visit: www.berlintravelfestival.com/register/.

Last March, more than 130 national and international exhibitors were represented at the Berlin Travel Festival. In praising the event they said it was “professionally curated”, “not typical for a fair”, “a completely new experience”, and emphasised its disruptive conceptual approach. The festival featured a programme of stage events that combined lectures, workshops, master classes and film screenings. Exhibitors were delighted that some 11,000 visitors attended the event, who they said were open-minded, interested in sustainable travel, eager for adventure, and not least very knowledgeable on the subject.

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