Archive for the ‘news’ Category

Kerala startup ecosystem clocks high growth, says report

Kerala has emerged as one of country’s top startup destinations marking an impressive compound annual growth of 17 per cent since 2012, taking the total number of ventures based out of the state to 2,200 and displaying high competence in netting funds, says a report compiled by digital media platform Inc 42 in association with TiE Kerala.

In a single year since 2018 alone, the number of startups set up in Kerala marked a steep increase of 35 per cent, says the report, unveiled at the valedictory function of the TiECon Kerala 2019, at Kochi on Saturday.

Dr Subramanian Swamy, MP, released the report titled ‘Kerala Startup Ecosystem 2019’ in the presence of Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM).

Kerala-based startups kept up their competence in getting funds by raising $89mn till date, and compared to 2018, till September this year startups clocked an 18 per cent uptick in securing funds. In 2019, startups netted $44mn funding spread across 13 deals. As many as 47 startups have raised funds from outside and 13 startups received funds in 2019.

“KSUM has designed and executed a set of programmes and schemes as per the revised Kerala Startup Policy (Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship Policy) to identify and support technology startups in the State. In the last six months alone, KSUM incubated and funded over 200 startups,” said Shri M Sivasankar IAS, Secretary, Electronics and IT, Government of Kerala.

“Many of the key policy interventions formulated by the Kerala Government to support startups and measures to ensure inclusivity in innovation are now being adopted by other State Governments as well,” Shri Sivasankar added.

“To ensure investment opportunities, KSUM has come out with an innovative Fund of Fund scheme to invest in Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs). A combined corpus in excess of Rs 1,000 crore of investment capital has been made available for startups through this scheme by committing less than 10 percent of this amount into various AIFs,” said Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM.

“Investments worth more than double the deployed amount has already happened into Kerala based startups in the last one year. It is heartening to note that this early stage fund has enabled some startups to grow substantially during last one year,” he added.

According to the report, of the 2,200 startups based in Kerala, as much as 13 per cent were registered in the first three quarters of 2019. Ernakulam and Thiruvananthapuram are top choices for startups in setting up their headquarters as about 59 per cent of startups are located in these two cities. Kochi accounts for 36 per cent of them, followed by Thiruvananthapuram with 23 per cent.

“In 2019, the Indian startup ecosystem recorded 553 funding deals, which together crossed the $9 bn funding mark. Interestingly, it is Kerala which has emerged as one of the top startup destinations of the country,” says the report.

“Around 75 per cent of the Kerala-based startups are product-driven companies and 25 per cent of startups are service-driven. Sector-wise, 28 per cent of startups offer IT and consulting services followed by health tech and edtech with 8 per cent and 7 per cent respectively,” it says.

About 41 per cent of the startups have two founders each while 39 per cent startups have single founder. However, only five per cent of the startups have female founders. Moreover, 14 per cent of startups have parity in number of male and female employees.

“Kerala Government has earmarked investments of over Rs 1,000 Cr in the state startups over the next four years,” it adds.

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Messe Berlin (Singapore) launches Travel Tech Asia 2020 to meet growing travel tech sector

Messe Berlin (Singapore), one of the world’s leading trade fair companies, announced that it will be organising the inaugural Travel Tech Asia 2020 in Singapore. The 3-day conference will take place from 21 to 23 October 2020 at the Sands Expo & Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands. Travel Tech Asia is under ITB Asia’s umbrella of events and will be co-located with ITB Asia and MICE Show Asia in 2020, bringing together the largest travel showcase yet in Asia.

“In recent years, we have seen a remarkable development in travel technology and the integral role it is playing for the travel industry. Travel Tech Asia 2020 aims to provide the community with a platform for in-depth discussions on how technology can disrupt and transform the travel landscape,” said Katrina Leung, Managing Director of Messe Berlin (Singapore), the organiser of Travel Tech Asia 2020.

Travel Tech Asia will bring together a fresh set of buyer participants, the Tech Buyers. These Tech Buyers are heads of Distribution, Sales and Marketing, E-Commerce and IT from Hotels, Travel Agencies, Airlines, Tours and Activities - the key decision makers in evaluating and selecting the best travel tech in the market that best fit the industry needs.

Conference speakers will share emerging technologies, trends, ideas and applicable case studies that will set the stage for new possibilities in travel. Innovations surrounding e-commerce, internet of things in hospitality, transportation, AI, VR and AR, big data and cloud, payment solutions and revenue management and optimisation, will also be featured at the show to showcase the possibilities in travel tech and how it is set to revolutionise the industry.

Exhibitors at the show will include industries such as artificial intelligence, booking, reservations and metasearch, hotel tech, virtual reality and augmented reality, voice and biometrics, data, personalisation and mobile marketing, revenue management and optimisation and more. As technologies continue to fuel record growth in the travel industry, Travel Tech Asia 2020 will see new exhibitors specifically catered for the travel tech industry.

Super Early Bird rates for exhibiting at Travel Tech Asia 2020 will run from now till 31 October 2019. For more information on Travel Tech Asia 2020, visit www.traveltechasia.com/.

 

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KSUM, Bahrain govt agency ink MoU to boost tech startups

Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) and Bahrain Economic development Board (EDB), the Gulf state’s investment promotion agency, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for jointly promoting innovation in FinTech, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and related emerging fields.

Mr Ashok Kurian Panjikaran, Manager, Business Development, KSUM, and Ms Dharmi Magdani, Regional Director, India, Bahrain EDB, exchanged the MoU on the sidelines of the 39th annual GITEX Technology Week held in Dubai.

The agreement aims at building business opportunities for each country’s startups in other’s market.

The initiative will facilitate development and growth of FinTech and ICT startups and centres through support from technology hubs such as Bahrain Fintech Bay, Brinc Batelco IoT Accelerator, Flat6 Labs Bahrain, Brilliant Lab and KSUM Hub.

The scope of cooperation includes facilitation of delegation visits to Bahrain and India. There will be collaboration on knowledge exchange and enhancing cooperation between financial and technological institutions, universities and research institutions, technology experts, and government agencies.

The MoU is also meant for exploration of innovation projects in areas such as digital and mobile payments, blockchain and distributed ledgers, big data, flexible platforms (API), AML, eKYC, and other emerging areas in FinTech and ICT.

“Building a robust ecosystem where FinTech startups and IT firms can access and engage with critical soft infrastructure such as universities, financial institutions and government agencies will be a key enabler for growth and innovation in the FinTech and ICT sectors,” noted Dr Saji Gopinath, CEO, KSUM, commenting on the pact.

“These are priority areas for both Kerala and Bahrain, and we are immensely excited to build even further upon where we are already seeing incredible growth with this timely new partnership,” he added.

“This is an excellent opportunity for Kerala startups to take advantage of Bahrain’s thriving ecosystem,” Ms Magdani, said.

“With the lowest setup and operating costs, some of the most advanced supportive infrastructure and one of the most skilled labour forces in the region, there is no better destination for startups seeking to access and scale across the growing $1.5 trillion GCC markets”, she added.

Ms Pakiza Abdulrahman, Manager of Business Development - Startup at the EDB, said the partnership with KSUM would encourage greater collaboration between entrepreneurs and innovators in both countries.

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

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9th Edition of HotelTech Kerala to be held from October 10-12, 2019 in Kochi

The ninth edition of Kerala’s premier HORECA exhibition, HotelTech Kerala, will be held from October 10-12, 2019 at the KTDC’s Bolgatty Palace Event Centre, Kochi. The event will provide a unique opportunity for the hospitality sector in the state to identify suppliers related to their sector. The show will also facilitate and provide national and local manufacturers an opportunity to meet with hoteliers, restaurant, resort, Caterers and Bakery owners from all over Kerala.

 

HotelTech Kerala will showcase the following sectors - hotel supplies, hotelware & tableware, equipments for hotels and restaurants, cleaning equipment & services, linen and furnishing products, food & beverages and other services.  

 

The con-current events being held include the Kerala Culinary Challenge (KCC) 2019 which is being presented by SICA-Kerala Chapter and being held at the same venue in Kochi. Chefs from hotels and resorts across Kerala will take part in the prestigious event and vie for top honours.  Competitions will be held in Display and Live cooking categories in the event. Individual artistic display will be held in Dress the Cake, Creative Dessert and Mocktails. There will be live competitions in Hot Cooking Dish for Chicken, Fish, Rice Dish and authentic Kerala cuisine.

Our sponsors for the KCC include Coconut Development Board (Cooking Oil), Indian Oil (Cooking Gas), Venkys India (Chicken), Healthy Fish (Seafood) Palmo Coconut Milk Powder (Ingredients sponsor) and Bizzaro Uniforms (Uniforms) while SSN Hotelwares and Gusto Hotelwares are the gift sponsors of KCC.

The prime objective of this Culinary Challenge is to provide a professional platform where culinary professionals from across Kerala can display their individual and combined skills, creative talent, learn, share experiences, partner and network in a purely businesslike and competitive environment,” said organizers of the event.

The event will also give youngsters an opportunity to come up with new and innovative ideas.  The event’s aim is to create awareness about the profession of chefs and felicitate those who have excelled in the profession. While well known chefs from the hospitality fraternity will showcase their flair at the competition, students and apprentices will brainstorm for their eclectic passion for food along with the competing chefs. The general public will have the facility to watch live demonstrations by culinary enthusiasts and the renowned chefs, informed the show organizers.

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EBRD and UNWTO team up to promote inclusive tourism and achieve Sustainable Development Goals

The EBRD and the UNWTO are joining forces to strengthen sustainable and inclusive tourism as a tool for achieving growth and development.

Under an MoU, signed by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili at the UNWTO Headquarters in Madrid, the two institutions pledge to work together in promoting and fostering tourism for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. The MoU is also aligned with the new property and tourism strategy the EBRD published yesterday.

In particular, the EBRD and UNWTO are looking for ways to strengthen the role of the tourism sector for social, economic and environmental development for regional integration and economic diversification. Fostering education and training in tourism for job creation and socioeconomic inclusion, by adopting the best practices to increase and improve skillsets in the sector, is a key priority for both the EBRD and UNWTO.

The two institutions will also look to strengthen tourism governance and institutions, promote policy dialogue at national and regional level on matters of common concern, facilitate investments and advocate for the increase of Official Development Aid flows to the tourism sector, including through UNWTO.

UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili commented: “Tourism has become a central part of the global sustainable development agenda. Strengthening our partnership with the EBRD will help us drive the sector forward, deliver change in the tourism climate and digital economy and help guide the growth of tourism in a responsible and inclusive manner for the benefit of all. We are happy to be your tourism intelligence and action partner.”

EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said: “I am very delighted to be working with UNWTO to promote sustainable and inclusive tourism across the EBRD regions. Travel and tourism represent a vitally important and fast-growing sector of the global economy, and can benefit poorer, more remote regions, opening up job opportunities, promoting economic inclusion for all and facilitating the transfer of valuable skills. These are all objectives central to the EBRD’s mission.”

The EBRD and UNWTO are longstanding partners. In 2015, the two institutions signed an agreement in the framework of the EBRD’s commitment for supporting inclusive and sustainable tourism in the economies where then Bank invests, particularly in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region and the Western Balkans.
 

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MPEDA opens Seafood India signature stall at Kochi airport

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) opened today its second signature stall at the Cochin International Airport under its ‘Seafood India’ project launched ten months ago. The new stall at the airport premises in Nedumbassery, 40 km north of here, will sell ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat value-added products from 10 exporters.

The MPEDA had started the ‘Seafood India’ signature stall in December last year when Union Commerce and Industry Minister Shri Suresh Prabhu had inaugurated the 1700-square-feet facility at Panampally Nagar in downtown Ernakulam.

Today, that endeavour found its second chapter with the opening of the stall at the airport. MPEDA Chairman Mr K S Srinivas said that the signature stall is opened in the Cochin airport as a part of MPEDA’s brand promotion campaign for Indian seafood, considering the airport’s importance in the traffic of international tourists as well as non-resident keralites.

“Moreover, MPEDA signature stall helps the domestic consumers also get familiarised to export quality value added seafood products.” The stall at the Panampilly Nagar ‘Seafood India’ facility currently displays around 100 value-added products of various companies across India. The items for sale span a range of ready-to-eat, ready-to-fry and ready-to-cook items.

MPEDA is to set up similar signature stalls in other international airports as well, Mr Srinivas added. ‘Seafood India’ stall in the MPEDA headquarters at Panampilly Nagar, exhibit products developed by prominent fisheries research institutions such as CMFRI, CIFT and NIFPHATT besides selling and displaying value-added marine products of exporters. It also provides literature on the activities of MPEDA and its societies such as NETFISH, RGCA and NaCSA. Enabled with information kiosks to browse the details about each product, the stall provides information ranging from its production, processing, cooking and nutritional content.

The 1972-established MPEDA, as a statutory body under the Union Government’s Ministry of Commerce & Industry, coordinates with different central and state government establishments engaged in fishery production and allied activities. It works for increasing the exports of marine products through interventions in fishing, aquaculture, processing, marketing, extension, quality  assurance, R&D and training in various aspects.

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Kochi gets back Indira Gandhi Boat Race after 27 years, courtesy CBL

Ending a hiatus of 27 long years owing to various reasons, the Indira Gandhi Boat Race in Kerala’s commercial capital is all set to stage a comeback this weekend, thanks to an innovative endeavour by the state government.

The ongoing Champions Boat League (CBL) is slated to hold its fifth round in downtown Ernakulam on October 5, giving the city’s cosmopolitan crowd a peek at the region’s celebrated legacy of water races locally called vallamkali.

The Indira Gandhi Boat Race (IGBR) at Marine Drive is not exactly a traditional festival, given that it owes its name from the country’s prime minister after her death in 1984. Yet IGBR had always the potential to function as a heritage event, considering that Kochi is an ancient city not alien to the culture of boat races and that the city has always had people of different ancestries from across the world living together.

Kochi has colourful memories of the inaugural edition of IGBR with late Indira Gandhi’s son, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, reaching the venue as the chief guest. Malayalis of that generation continue to cherish the image of the young PM, along with his wife Sonia Gandhi, draped in ethnic mundu-veshti and set-mundu for the occasion. Their standing together in that off-white dress had been an enduring photo splashed by the print media.

The grand start notwithstanding, the IGBR soon tapered. Within years of it start, the race ceased to be annual. The random editions went on to be held till 1992, after which there has been a break till date (barring a couple of boat races but not under the IGBR title).

This October, though, will mark a turning point in IGBR’s history. That’s because of the CBL, being rolled out by Kerala Tourism on the lines of IPL cricket. Of the 12 races of the 2019 CBL featuring nine snake-boats, the Kochi leg will be held along a 960 meters stretch of the backwaters along the first Goshree Bridge and Marine Drive boat jetty.

The organisers are busy setting up a temporary pavilion at Marine Drive even as the CBL boats are slated to reach the city from the previous venue of Piravom, 32 km east of here. That event, on September 28, gave a similar boost to the 1958-launched Piravom Boat Race which had suffered a similar bout of breaks and was last conducted in 2015 after a major gap.

The idea behind the CBL (www.championsboatleague.in) is to professionalise the snake-boat races that are largely scattered across the state, according to Mrs. Rani George, Secretary, Kerala Tourism. “While doing so, we keep their conventional spirit intact.”

Kerala Tourism Director Mr. P Bala Kiran, terming the CBL a “game-changer”, notes that the competition has hotted up over the past four editions. “Every micro-second at the race counts now,” he adds, noting that the Piravom race, too, had a photo finish like the third edition at Karuvatta in Alappuzha district.

If the races at Piravom were uniquely upstream (the Moovattupuzha river), the heats and finals at Kochi CBL will be on plain waters in a shallow stretch of the Arabian Sea.

Mr. K Rajkumar, Joint Director, Kerala Tourism, notes that villages around Kochi have the tradition of boat races soon after the monsoon. “Besides Piravom, we have Champakkara, Poothotta and Gothuruth holding vallamkali in Ernakulam district. They mainly organise races of smaller traditional boats like odiand iruttukuthy,” he reveals. “At Kochi CBL, the star attraction will be the long snake-boats with 100-odd rowers in each of them.There will be competition for small boats and kayaks as well.” As for the gallery, the main one will be along the Marine Drive walkway besides a few at the jhangar rafts. “Preparations are going on hectically,” he adds.

The Kochi CBL leg will also host a variety of other entertainment activities like popular music by the famed Avial and a local band of college students, besides staging traditional programmes like Chavittunatakam, Kathakali, Mohiniyattam and Velakali.

“Overall,” says Mr. S Vijayakumar, Secretary, Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council, “the event is going to be memorable.”

The CBL, which was inaugurated alongside the illustrious Nehru Trophy BoatRace in Alappuzha on August 31, will conclude amid the President’s Trophy Boat Race at Kollam on November 23. All the 12 races (in six districts) are on Saturdays.
 

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Multi-Event Campaign for a Plastic-Free India Attracts People in Large Numbers at Manaveeyam Veedhi

Educating the children on the ill-effects of plastics has become ultimately important, and the awareness on plastic menace should start from their homes, opined renowned sculptor Kanayi Kunhiraman today. He was speaking after inaugurating the ‘Multi-Event Campaign for a Plastic-Free India’ at the Manaveeyam Veedhi in Vellayambalam on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi. Kanayi Kunhiraman inaugurated the campaign by drawing a picture at the venue. Implementing the ban on single-use plastics and creating a model village on the lines of what Mahatma Gandhi had envisioned has become the need of the hour, he said, adding that he would extend all support towards such an initiative.


The campaign organised by the city-based Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), along with various like-minded organisations, witnessed an array of renowned personalities assemble at the inauguration of the multi-event campaign. The call for making plastic producers take back their products after a certain period of time was heard aloud, as eminent personalities, school and college students, and the general public assembled in support of the ban on single-use plastics.

L Radhakrishnan IAS, who presided over the inaugural function, pointed out that it is a shame that Kerala has not been able to scrap the use of plastic even after so many years of realising the bane. He reminded the audience that the state of Sikkim had rejected plastic way back in 2002. Calling upon the government to strictly implement laws along with creating awareness against use of plastics, he said the laws should ensure that there is a complete ban on use of single-use plastics (SUPs). Besides, a ban on import and sale of such goods should be implemented, he said. He called upon everyone present to be part of the continuing campaign against plastics.

Dr Biju Kumar, Department of Aquatic Biology, University of Kerala, in his speech assured that CISSA would rope in youngsters to be part of the mega awareness campaign against single-use plastics and also towards bringing in alternatives to plastic. Along with this, CISSA would play an important role in putting pressure on plastic producers to be more responsible in a world that sees plastic as a menace.

G Suresh Kumar, film producer, who congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi in bringing about the idea of Swachch Bharat, said that he would try and convince actors to stay away from endorsing plastic products. Prof C P Aravindakshan, Principal, Govt Women’s College Thiruvananthapuram, and prominent science enthusiast, pointed out that the use of plastics has grown manifold due to the fact that the people have been going after low prices, bright colours and beauty. Use of plastics has to stop, he reiterated.

Speaking at the function, Dr C Suresh Kumar, General Secretary, CISSA, said that the earlier call to end the use of plastics was ignored by the consumers. However, it is a welcome sign that the government has taken the lead in convincing the plastic producers on the ill-effects of plastics. CISSA would rope in people’s participation to be at the forefront of such a movement, he added.


Arjuna Awardee Padmini Thomas read out the pledge against single-use plastics at the function. The prominent guests at the event signed on a signature wall erected at the venue in support of the ban on single use plastics. A message from prominent poet and environment activist Sugathakumari against the use of plastics was also read out at the event. U V Jose IAS, PRD Director; NP Rajeev, Vice Chairman, National Innovation Foundation; C Jayakumar, Executive Director, Thanal; Ajith Venniyoor, CISSA, and others also participated. Kummanam Rajasekharan, Former Governor of Mizoram; Venu Nair, Film Director; and many other prominent personalities visited the venue and offered support. Various programmes such as Poster exhibition on history and menace of plastics; Photo exhibition; Painting camp;  Cultural performance by school and college students; Exhibition of alternatives to plastics; and Stalls by NGOs were part of the Multi-Event Campaign. As many as 100 NCC cadets from the All Girls Battalion, school and college students, and the general public, participated. A live painting exhibition by Chithra Kala Sangham was also part of the event.


Rushdhamol R.S of Govt GHSS Cotton Hill won the first prize in Poster Designing, while Chitra Sivakami of Govt College for Women, won the second prize. In the Painting Competition, High School section Aswin B.Jayan of BVPCS Parassala won the first prize, while Karthik S  of Govt Model BHSS, Thycaud got the second prize; and Mukundan V.S of Govt. Model Boys HSS, Thycaud won the third prize. Vishnu J.S of Sandeepani School got the Consolation Prize. In the Higher Secondary Section, Lekshmi .C of Cotton Hill School won the first prize, while Angel G Oswin of Cotton Hill School won the second prize and Lekshmi. S of Cotton Hill School won third prize while Sandra of Cotton Hill School, got consolation prize. Renowned writer Dr George Onakkoor gave away the prizes to the winners of the competitions.


The Multi-Event Campaign was organised by CISSA along with RCE Thiruvananthapuram acknowledged by UNU; Nehru Yuvak Kendra; National Service Scheme;  Bharatheeya Vichara Kendram; National Green Corps; Lakhu Udyog Bharati; Earth Foundation; WWF; Thanal; Friends of Marine life; C5; Santhigram; Dept. of Aquatic Biology, University of Kerala; SCT Engineering College; and Tapasya.
 

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Clint memorial online international painting competition prizes distributed

Kerala Tourism is embarking on a brand building mission to make the state one of the most sought-after global destinations, said Hon. Minister for Tourism, Co-operation and Devaswom Shri Kadakampally Surendran on Monday.

Speaking after distributing prizes to the winners of the Second Clint Memorial International Children’s Online Painting Competition, the Minister said though Kerala has firmly positioned itself on world tourism map, there are still potential markets to be tapped.

“One of the biggest challenges Kerala is facing in tourism sector is that it has to compete globally. We mostly try to attract visitors, who would have gone to Sri Lanka, the Maldives, Malaysia or Indonesia, for various tourism activities,” Shri Surendran said.

The painting competition was conducted in memory of prodigious child artist Edmund Clint. 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.

“Historically, many foreign tourists tend to go back after visiting the Golden Triangle comprising Agra, Jaipur and Delhi. There are also visitors who look for destinations like Goa, or choose to make trips to the Himalayan region. This shows that despite its inherent strength like nature, culture and cuisine, Kerala is able to lure tourists only by projecting the land as a premium brand," Shri Surendran added.

There were 110 winners in the competition, and among them15 were eligible for attractive tour packages with family. Ten of the 15 were from foreign countries. The first prize went to Parth Joshi, 12, of Vadodara in Gujarat. Nafisa Tabassum Authay 14, of Bangladesh won the second prize and Aaradhya P.G, a six-year-old Malayali girl, fetched the third prize. She figured among 40 prize winners from the host state who received a cash award of Rs 10,000 each.

The first three prize-winners got certificates and mementos. Twenty other winners, too, received mementoes. The artists whose works were shortlisted got special prizes, while all the participants were given certificates.

Mr M. Vijayakumar, Chairman, KTDC, presided over the function. Mrs Rani George, Secretary, Kerala Tourism; Mr P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism; Mr B S. Biju, Deputy Director (Marketing), Tourism; and Mr E.M. Najeeb, Member, Advisory Committee, Kerala Tourism, and Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), were also present.

Of the 38,995 paintings received from the stipulated 4-16 age group from as many as 96 countries, 6,542 were from abroad. Among the rest from India, 5,713 paintings were from Kerala. As many as five million homes were reached through a sustained six-month long campaign in 23 languages in 136 countries.

Those who encouraged children to take part in the competition in a big way won awards as ‘promoters’. They total ten—five from India and the rest abroad. These promoters, too, were eligible for Kerala Tourism’s five-night package tour in the state.

The Indian trip winners among the participants are Aarohan Dutta (Maharashtra), Dhruv Anand Shastry (Hyderabad), Goutam Kumar (Punjab), Leena Prakash Kadam (Maharashtra), Parth Joshi (Gujrat). The promoters, who qualified for the trip, are Somnath Kashinath Kothale (Maharastra), Pratiksha Pandey (Madhya Pradesh), Poonam Thakkar (Karnataka),Sweta Purvesh Mehta (Maharastra) and Ajay Dattaram Chavan (Maharastra).

The winners, who qualified for Indian trip from abroad are Abdullah Hassan Sial (Zimbabwe), Anastasiia Semenova (Russia), Anjelika Petrova Yonovska (Bulgaria), Ranawaka Arachchige Esheli Neskya Ranawaka (Sri Lanka), Sinali Ruwanya Thushmini Peiris Heraliyawalage (Sri Lanka), Ishmam Ahmed (Bangladesh), Sesali Chanudima Kariyavasam (Sri Lanka), NafisaTabassum Authay (Bangladesh), Petya Dobromirova Dimitrova (Bulgaria), and Thanumi Sanulya De Silva (Sri Lanka).

The promoters, who qualified for Indian trip are Roohina Khanam Jilani (Zimbabwe), Anju Man Ara Begum (Bangladesh), Anna Rozenkova (Russia), and Dimka Ivanova Pencheva (Bulgaria).

The winners were taken for a tour across Kerala. Earlier in the day, the children got a first-hand experience about the artform ‘Kathakali’ and its nuances at Vyloppilly Samskrithi Bhavan in the capital city on Monday.

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Tourism Minister calls for attracting more Chinese travellers to the state

Amid Kerala Tourism’s effort to woo more Chinese travellers to the state, a workshop was held today for travel and tourism trade as part of designing a marketing strategy to increase their footfall.

Inaugurating the concluding ceremony of the workshop, state Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said the state should tap the strong China market which sends 150 million tourists across the world. “Kerala will do a sustained China Ready campaign with definite partnerships at G2G, B2B and B2C levels,” he said.

"In spite of deep historical, cultural and continental connect, Kerala is still  not the most frequented tourist destinations of the Chinese, a scenario that is bound to change in the coming days," said  Marcus Lee, CEO, Welcome China, a government accredited initiative that works to help travel and tourism trade  engage meaningfully with China.

Speaking to the participants on the possibility of increasing the tourist footfall from China, Mr Lee said, "By  thinning the gap that keeps Chinese tourists from India, there are greater chances of India being one of the favourite exotic destinations of the Chinese people". The workshop was attended by around 40 hoteliers and tour operators from across the state.

Inaugurating the workshop earlier, Smt. Rani George IAS, Tourism Secretary, said "With China Ready programme, Kerala Tourism hopes to get an opportunity to open avenues  for not only cultural exchanges  but  also mutual  economic  benefits." Shri. P. Bala Kiran,IAS ,Tourism Director, said, " tapping the Chinese market is vital for Kerala since it will boost the state’s revenue from tourism substantially."

China Ready programme, which has already been conducted in 48 countries,is exploring India for the first time with its association with Kerala Tourism. The Workshop will be followed by a five- day trip by the Chinese delegation from 0ctober 1-5 to various tourist destinations in Kerala.The group will visit Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Thekkady, Munnar and Kochi and will provide the Chinese perspective on what needs to be done for making these destinations more attractive to Chinese tourists.

Recently, Beijing based Richard Matuzevich of the World Tourism Cities Federation told the International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) at Kochi that China’s emerging class of young, educated and resource-rich travellers are passionate about visiting countries, especially in East and South Asia, but India is yet to figure in their list of top eight destinations.

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