‘Kerala attracting more tourists from China, Sri Lanka’

Thiruvananthapuram, July 8 (IANS) The efforts of the Kerala tourism department to attract more tourists from China and Sri Lanka are paying off, said state tourism minister A. P. Anil Kumar.

Kumar told IANS on Wednesday that “The first luxury liner from Sri Lanka is expected to dock in Kochi on October 2, and chartered flights from China are also expected during the upcoming tourist season in Kerala that begins in November.”

He said the luxury liner from Colombo will first touch at Kochi and after a day or two it will move on to the Maldives from where it will return to Colombo.

“Around 2.2 lakh tourists from Sri Lanka visit India every year but very few travel to Kerala. We will soon begin an aggressive Visit Kerala campaign in Sri Lanka. Things are being arranged in a manner that apart from being a tourist destination, Kerala becomes a shopping destination as well,” said Kumar.

The minister was in China last week leading a tourism department delegation. He said that his preliminary talks with Chinese tourism officials were a success.

“Chinese people do travel a lot and we are going to launch a campaign there to attract tourists to Kerala. Chartered flights would be the first target for us as one can reach from Beijing to Kochi in less than eight hours,” added Kumar.

About ships bringing tourists, he said talks will have to be held with the Cochin Port Trust authorities to fix berthing charges and other facilities.

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