The Government of Kerala declared tourism an industry in 1986, realizing its economic potential. Two and a half decades down the line, Kerala is one of the premier tourism brands in the international circuit.
The first tourism policy was announced in 1995, underlining the importance of public-private partnership and kick-starting another vibrant phase of growth. New markets were captured with innovative products and novel marketing strategies, and tourism has grown to become a major revenue earner for the State. From hardly 50,000 foreign tourist arrivals and 0.13 billion rupees in foreign exchange in 1986, it has reached a status of 0.6 million foreign tourist arrivals and 37.97 billion rupees in foreign exchange in 2010. Total employment generated from tourism is estimated at 1.2 million.
In tourism ventures, small and medium enterprises dominate today. The importance of tourism from a development perspective is realized by local self government and local communities too. A perfect synergy between public and private sector is created in tourism and the need of the hour is to promote quality on all fronts, to provide world-class experiences to the tourist without causing damage to the society and environment, while strengthening the economy.
Objectives: The Tourism Policy, in a nutshell, aims to ensure quality visitor experience, focus on benefits for the community, create an enabling environment for investment, market Kerala as a visible global brand in domestic and international markets, and to develop quality human resources in tourism and hospitality.
* A Cabinet Committee on Tourism with the Chief Minister as Chairman and Minister for Tourism as Vice Chairman to oversee the implementation of infrastructure plans which are vital to tourism sector;
* Fast track clearance to tourism projects with investment above Rs. 10 crores;
* Task Force against Trafficking and Abuse. Zero tolerance on trafficking, substance abuse and child abuse in tourism;
* Hop-on hop-off services at Thiruvananthapuram, Alappuzha, Fort Kochi, Kochi backwaters and Munnar;
* Broad-base Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative throughout the state, learning from the pilot locations of Kovalam, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Wayanad;
* Creation of Kerala Responsible Tourism Task Force at the state level; A new system will be introduced whereby 15% of the total investment, subject to a maximum ceiling of 20 lakhs, will be provided for investors classified under RT.
* Task Force on Infrastructure Development with Minister for Tourism as the Chairman, consisting of members of the tourism industry and representative of line departments;
* Market Kerala as a visible global brand with equal focus on domestic and international markets. Strengthen existing markets, tap new emerging markets;
* Kerala Convention Promotion Bureau (KCPB) with the participation of the tourism industry, to market the region aggressively in the MICE business segment;
* Develop Kerala as an all-season destination;
* Initiate new destination promotion campaign for emerging destinations such as Bekal and Wayanad;
* Task Force for Marketing will be constituted to continue the synergy of Private Public Partnership in marketing and to formulate innovative marketing strategy;
* Department will form State Tourism Advisory Committee (STAC);
* A new campaign on ‘Kerala Waste Free Destination’ (KWFD) and a Task Force to manage it;
* 10 thematic museums in 10 years to showcase cultural heritage;
* Action plan to provide, directly or through partnerships with stakeholders, toilets and restrooms of acceptable standard in every destination;
* Information centres at all major destinations, cities and transport nodes with IT-enabled information kiosks and trained staff to cater to the needs of visitors.