CM to inaugurate March 1 to 5 KTM virtual meet that seeks to revive Kerala’s tourism

Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan will open next week’s Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) that seeks to reinvigorate the state’s tourism, as the March 1-5 virtual braces up to take full advantage out of a post-Covid scenario by initiating a milestone convergence of domestic and foreign buyers in the vital sector.
Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran will be chair the inaugural function at the Uday Palace Convention Centre at Kowdiar in the heart of the city. Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac will be the chief guest at the ceremony being organised in strict adherence to Covid-19 protocol, according to KTM Society which is India’s biggest organization in the travel and tourism segment.
KTM, as the country’s biggest tourism meet, will facilitate domestic and foreign buyers to hold online interactions with 700 sellers across continents. The prime aim is to restore the pace of growth of tourism that has been affected for a year owing to the outbreak of the global pandemic, organisers said.
Present at the March 1 inaugural function will be Thiruvananthapuram Mayor Kum Arya Rajendran; Dr Shashi Tharoor, MP;  Adv V K Prasanth, MLA; Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary Smt Rani George; Director Shri V R Krishna Teja; Municipal Corporation Member Smt S Sathikumari; KTM Society President Shri Baby Mathew Somatheeram and Secretary Shri Jose Pradeep besides former presidents of KTM Society.
The five-day meet, which will be attended by all members of the KTM Society, is set to exhibit the various products of the state’s tourism sector.
The previous edition (2018) of the KTM, too, was held in the aftermath of a disaster: floods. That time (in September), the meet sought to allaypublic apprehensions about the monsoon calamity upsetting Kerala’s tourism prospects. The upcoming KTM, too, work for a similar model that caninspire confidence in the stakeholders. The deliberations are aimed to chart out ways that can help the sector lessen the losses owing to Covid-19 and its lingering effects.
Already, the government’s measures against the pandemic has won Kerala appreciation across the globe. In fact, steps to strengthen the inflow of tourists have been successful, given a surge in travelers in the past four months. Sticking to Covid protocol, the state’s tourism department has been working in association with the hotels, resorts and homestays, boosting the state’s travel industry.
Also, the government has rolled out a Rs 455-crore relief package for both theentrepreneurs and employees/workers in tourism. The state-level bankers’committee gives loans up to Rs 25 lakh to entrepreneurs intourism. The government is paying half the interest for the first year.

Further, Kerala Bank gives loans between Rs 20,000 and Rs 30,000 to those employed in the tourism sector. The beneficiaries need to pay only 3 per cent interest, as thegovernment pays the rest 6 per cent as subsidies.
The authorities are giving Rs 10,000 each as a one-time relief amount to 328 guidesaccredited with the tourism departments of the state and central governments. Grants up to Rs 1.25 lakh are being distributed for the maintenance of houseboats.The commercial tax, which the local administration department was collecting fromhomestays,has been retained as house tax to the relief to the hospitality industry.

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