Investment sought in areas like medical tourism, wax and heritage museums.
Small and medium entrepreneurs will get an opportunity to contribute to the tourism industry’s growth in Kerala, thanks to a unique initiative being kicked off by Kerala’s tourism department, Kerala Tourism, under the aegis of the Tourism Resorts Kerala Ltd (TRKL).
TK Mansoor, managing director, TKRL, said the initiative will see Kerala Tourism joining hands with Non-Resident Keralites (NRKs) to strengthen the state’s progress in the tourism sector. “We are organising an event in Kochi on December 23-24 to provide a platform for potential NRK investors to come together and discuss and share project plans with the government. The response has been overwhelming.”
Adding that the initiative, christened Ente Nadu (My Land), has grabbed the attention of potential tourism entrepreneurs from the gulf region and elsewhere, Mansoor pointed out that as many as 148 resident entrepreneurs had come forward with projects relating to various spheres in the Kerala tourism scene. Two types of projects will be submitted. While one set will have government participation, the other set will be purely private funded projects, utilising government infrastructure, Mansoor added. The 148 projects already submitted are of resident entrepreneurs, which would fall under the latter category, Mansoor said. Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model investment and development in identified locations will also be encouraged.
Mansoor said resident entrepreneurs can also join hands with NRK investors in setting up tourism related projects in the state. “There ar people who have the management expertise and professional skills to run an enterprise in Kerala. Most of them even have a business idea, but the lack of an investor holds them back. The new initiative will help them find funding options," he said. The government-involved projects will have the backing of the department.
Elaborating on the role of TKRL, Mansoor said the Tourism Resorts Kerala Ltd will employ a committee to scrutinise the projects being submitted and would check for viability and other related aspects. The selected projects will be presented to NRKs expected to attend the congregation planned in Kochi. The NRK investors will also be provided with the opportunity to meet entrepreneurs who have submitted the projects, he added. As many as 374 registrations have been made for the summit in Kochi, he said. As many as 239 are from other countries, he added. The event is being jointly organised by the department of tourism and the Kerala industries department. TRKL will act as the nodal agency for the event, in partnership with the Non-Resident Keralites’ Affairs Department, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation, Kerala Financial Corporation , Kerala Tourism Development Corporation and the Public Relations Directorate .
Aimed at channeling the money that might flow in from around 10 million NRKs into building tourism projects in Kerala, the Ente Nadu initiative is expected to bring in new investment in areas such as hill resorts, island resorts, farm tourism, medical tourism, wax museums, heritage museums, homestays, houseboats, ayurveda centres etc.
Kerala’s Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said: “Having played a key role in spreading the social and cultural heritage of our state around the world, we now look forward to the whole-hearted support of NRKs in helping us script Kerala tourism’s success story.” Kerala tourism is now awaiting NRK investment in building tour infrastructure in a major way. TRKL believes that the Ente Nadu initiative would bring in added charm to the way tourists see Kerala.