Kerala Tourism: God's own country gets a facelift

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | September 01, 2008
Kerala Tourism is on a mission to further popularise the already popular tourist destination through new offerings such as ecotourism and rural tourism

Kerala Tourism & #BANNER1 & # is on a road trip, quite literally. It has organised a series of road shows to inform people about its new initiatives in Kerala. The road shows were held in various cities across the country, such as Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai. In Mumbai, which was the last stop, the road show was held on August 29 at Taj Lands End, Bandra.

The road show was organised with the intention of educating people about the new initiatives taken up by Kerala Tourism. Along with other tourist attractions, Kerala Tourism has also started to offer rural tourism (where tourists can stay with the rural people and experience their lifestyle firsthand) and ecotourism (where tourists experience ecofriendly Kerala).

The road show embodied the spirit of Kerala by organising a cultural dance at the end of the presentation. The dancers were from a dance academy in Navi Mumbai and performed Kathakali and Mohiniattam, dance forms native to Kerala. One could also purchase a souvenir from the handicrafts stall set up at the venue.

The creatives for Kerala Tourism are handled by two agencies - Stark Advertising, which deals with the international market, and Crayons Advertising, which deals with the domestic market. The media duties are handled by the media department of Stark Advertising.

The current campaign for Kerala Tourism has been running for the last two years. It was shot by acclaimed filmmaker Santosh Sivan, while the creative inputs were provided by Stark Advertising. The TV commercial was shot across locations in Kerala and highlights the main tourist attractions, such as boat races, houseboats and scrumptious food.

Kerala Tourism is planning to launch a new campaign in the next couple of months. The new campaign will feature true stories of people finding love, bliss and peace in Kerala. The target group for the new campaign is the international traveller, although the same campaign is being used to target domestic travellers as well.

Sharing the objective of this new campaign with afaqs!, M Sivasankar, director, Kerala Tourism, says, "The new campaign is targeted at international travellers. The main aim of the campaign is to educate visitors, travel agents and tour operators."

Sivasankar adds, "We have allocated a budget of Rs 15 crore for advertising, out of which 50 per cent will be spent in the domestic market, and the other Rs 7.5 crore, in the international market."

Both in the domestic and international markets, the new campaign will be promoted extensively via television and print, and supported by Internet, radio and mobile.

According to previous travel statistics, Kerala Tourism found that travellers in the domestic market prefer to travel between the months of April and September, while international travellers visit Kerala between the months of November and March. Keeping this pattern in mind, Kerala Tourism has decided to organise certain exhibitions to coincide with the peak tourist season. Festivals such as the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival and Volvo Ocean Race are held during the peak season to attract more tourists.

Kerala Tourism advertises heavily in countries such as the UK, Germany, France, Italy and other European Union countries. This year, it will add Australia as well to the list.