Tourism officials and travel entrepreneurs from the Middle
East participating in Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) here say
Kerala might soon become the long-sought-after alternative
holiday destination for Arabs.
al Reay, a travel agent from Saudi Arabia, tells domain-b
that he cant wait to return to Kerala to design
special holiday packages, especially for Arab couples
on their honeymoon. I never knew that Kerala was
such a lovely place.
far, most vacationers from my country were going to the
US, but with severe restrictions, we have been on the
lookout for new destinations. I am happy that I have found
the right place in Kerala, says al-Reay.
Maha al Shahab, a lady official in Kuwaits information
ministry, under which the tourism department operates:
The entire 11-member team from Kuwait is excited
about Kerala. We didnt know that the state is such
a lovely place to come for a peaceful visit.
I return, I will market Kerala among the Kuwaitis and
for that I am taking as much literature with me as possible.
I have been to several countries and, except for Kerala
being a little hot, I am yet to see such a lovely place.
officials and tour operators have also come for the mart
from the UAE, Bahrain, Oman and Qatar. Kerala Tourism
Minister K V Thomas says the response from the Middle
East is very encouraging. We have several leading
personalities from several countries here and now we are
going to use our own people as brand ambassadors to promote
Kerala in the Middle East in a big way.
Minister A K Antony opened the mart at a glittering function
whose highlights were displays of several art forms of
Kerala. But the star attraction was the presence of seven
elephants. Foreign visitors queued up to have photographs
taken with the grandly decorated pachyderms.
secretary T Balakrishnan says the mart this year has attracted
821 buyers, 400 of them from foreign nations including
the US, Australia, New Zealand, China and Japan. Last
year the mart attracted 421 buyers.