Tourism trade organisations and travel firms from across India can seek the services of Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) to strengthen business at a time when technology has an increasing say in the sector, state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said.

Inaugurating the 3rd International Conference on Tourism Technology (ICTT) here, he noted that Kerala’s strong startup ecosystem under KSUM has incubated several companies that have excelled in various sectors, including information technology. “I call upon the delegates here to collaborate with the IT facilities we provide so that you can improve your business strongly and steadily,” said the minister, who holds charge of tourism.

The two-day ICTT, being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India (ATTOI) with the Kerala government’s Department of Tourism as the co-host, focuses on enriching the travel and tourism industrialists with updated skills related to web marketing and online resources to run business. With 200 delegates, it features eleven sessions addressed by as many experts from abroad.

Surendran said the ICTT will further boost tourism in Kerala as the host state of the event. “The ICTT comes amid the state government giving prominence to MICE Tourism and Responsible Tourism,” he pointed out. “We have already sidetracked from the conventional tools of tourism. We bring together large groups under a schedule planned well in advance for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.”

The minister also spoke about Kerala’s promotion of Responsible Tourism as a people-centric affair besides the ongoing Champions Boat League, the “latest launch” by Kerala Tourism.

Hibi Eden, MP, stressed on the need for Kerala to advance further in the field of online tourism and incorporate latest technologies that would promote the sector.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George, addressing the ICTT delegates at Le Meridian, hailed the ATTOI for making social media as a key subject at the event. “Social media plays a very significant role in promoting and reaching out to the right audience. Since the past two years, we have been actively doing social media interaction. Kerala Tourism ranks fourth in getting maximum social media traction,” she told delegates earlier in the day.

She also spoke about the new Kerala Tourism campaign ‘Human by Nature’ launched in February this year. “After the devastating 2018 floods, Kerala revived very quickly especially in the tourism sector. ‘Human by Nature’ emphasises on community building. In four months of its launch, we have reached 40 million views in social media,” she said.

Kerala Tourism Director P Bala Kiran, while emphasising on the importance of content to attract customers, explained how ICTT 2017 has been an eye opener for the state government. “The 2017 ICTT conference was a learning platform for us to understand the importance of social media and the innovation we have put through in our viewer engagement. In these two years, we are more visible in social media and have effectively used digital platform to attract tourists around the globe.”

Bala Kiran referred to digital marketing as the “most cost-effective strategy” to attract audience while entering a new market.  “It is very important for businesses to have a digital presence in today’s world and interact with the customers to run a successful business.”

By Manoj

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