Kerala Tourism presented the natural beauty of ‘God’s Own Country’ on the artist’s canvas at the International French Travel Mart (IFTM) Top Resa, the largest travel and tourism fair in France, to woo visitors from the state’s second biggest market abroad.
“France remains a strong market for us in terms of tourist arrivals,” said Kerala Tourism Director Shri S Harikishore, who led the Kerala delegation to the 35thedition of IFTM, attended by the Who’s Who of world’s travel and tourism industry. The IFTM was organised this year during September 24-27.
“The interest in Kerala among French travellers was tremendous and if the massive response to our delegation is any indication, we are going to witness an impressive increase in tourist arrivals from France in the coming years,” said Shri Harikishore.
The Kerala series of paintings were mounted on the walls of the sprawling Kerala Pavilion at the just-concluded IFTM 2013 in Paris drawing thousands of visitors. The state pavilion, which was themed on the paintings, won the praise of the fair’s visitors on September 27, the World Tourism Day. The wall-to-wall paintings enchanted the visitors with its colourful portrayal of Kerala’s abundant flora and fauna.
France is the second largest market for Kerala Tourism after the United Kingdom. Nearly one lakh French tourists had visited the state last year. Known for its strong focus on leisure tourism, business tourism and business travel, the IFTM Top Resa is also famous for its culture-themed events and culture village in the centre of the fair. The fair is partnered by French industrial giants like Air France, Accor group of hotels, Avis and French national rail carrier SNCF.
The Kerala delegation held a series of meetings with industry representatives from France during the IFTM. Leading French tour operators and travel media professionals were involved in the meetings with the Kerala Tourism Director and the co-exhibitors from the state. In 2012, the number of tourist arrivals from France to Kerala was 95,307.
The Kerala delegation also included three hoteliers (Abad Hotels and Resorts, Joy’s Hotels and Resorts and Kumarakom Lake Resort), who were co-exhibitors in the state pavilion.
The Kerala pavilion, which witnessed a flurry of activity, was also visited by India’s Ambassador to France, Shri Arun K Singh, who congratulated the Kerala Tourism for its “brilliant work” in the French market.