Kerala tourism wins big at PATA Gold awards

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Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Tourism has secured a name for itself on the international platform by winning three awards in the prestigious Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Gold awards.

The awards, presented at a glittering function at Nur-Sultan (Astana) in Kazakhstan on Thursday, were received by state Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran and Tourism Director P Bala Kiran from Maria Helena de Senna Fernandes, Director, Macau Government Tourism office and Dr Mario Hardy, CEO, PATA, during the PATA Travel Mart 2019.

One of the gold awards was bagged by an ethnic food restaurant run by women at Kumarakom under its Responsible Tourism Mission.

The two other gold awards were for an advertisement campaign of Kerala Tourism 'Come Out and Play' and for its website (www.keralatourism.org) respectively.

While the ad campaign was run by Stark Communication, the Kerala Tourism website has been designed and maintained by Invis Multimedia.

"It is a big honour for Kerala Tourism and also a strong validation of the state's image as an alluring tourist destination. I am sure these awards will give a huge traction in showcasing the touristy charms of the state to a wider international audience," Surendran said.

"I am particularly happy to receive the gold award for the women-run ethnic food restaurant at Kumarakom under the Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM), which has become the mainstay of our tourism policy and initiatives. Out of the 15,500 RTM initiatives, 13,500 units are led by women," the minister added.

Bala Kiran said over the years PATA awards have emerged as a prestigious recognition of achievements in the travel and tourism sector.

"Kerala Tourism has won the highest number of PATA awards in South Asia this year. India Tourism has won one award. The three gold awards are yet another acknowledgement of our commendable success. It will give a fillip to the destination pull of Kerala and elevate the state into a coveted destination for the inbound tourism market," he noted.

The 'Come Out and Play' campaign is an invitation to India to come out of the routine 'everydayness' of urban spaces - and the isolation that gadgets induce - to connect with each other and nature.

It offers tourists a wide array of options to rediscover nature by activities such as trekking, Ayurvedic massage, river rafting, yoga lessons, visiting a spice plantation, learning the basics of Kerala cuisine, climbing a coconut tree, and sailing on a houseboat.

The website (keralatourism.org) has been conceived, designed and developed to provide Kerala Tourism an online edge, befitting a premier travel destination in India.

The website had 10 million visits during FY2018-19 and is one among the top 10 tourism websites in Asia.

It also hosts almost one lakh web pages and major sections of the site are available in 23 languages and now competes with the tourism websites of countries like Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, and Australia for higher ranking.

The highly-contested awards, selected by an eminent international jury, were announced in Bangkok in July.

This year's awards attracted 197 entries from 78 organisations and individuals worldwide, a press release said.

Last year, Kerala Tourism had bagged two PATA gold awards for its Yalla Kerala print media campaign in the Gulf countries and for an innovative poster it had made for the third edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB), the biggest contemporary art show in South Asia.

The poster showed a colourful boat and fishermen.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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