The fourth edition of the Kerala Travel Mart was held from 27th to 29th September 2006 at Le Meridien Convention Centre, Kochi.
470 International and 670 Domestic buyers participated in the mart. 194 sellers occupied 234 stalls.
The mart was inaugurated at 6.30 p.m. on 27th Sep’06 at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium, Cochin
An audience of 1200 was welcomed by the President of the Kerala Travel Mart Society, Mr. Jose Dominic.
The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Kerala, Sri. V. S. Achuthanandan inaugurated the function by lighting the traditional lamp.
In his address, he said that the State was becoming one of the preferred destinations for tourists from other parts of India and across the world.“The Government did not visualize tourism merely as a profit making enterprise but as a mode to convey the cultural effervescence of the people. The Government wanted tourism to develop without harming the social and cultural values of the people. The industry should develop providing jobs, not in the cities and towns alone, but in the remote rural areas of the State as well” he said.
The Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Sri Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, while presiding over the function said that there has been a growth of 13 per cent inflow of foreign tourists to the State during the past five years .This has increased to 34 per cent in the last six months which is a remarkable achievement , he said. “ The State expects a growth of 11.9 per cent in this sector, which is the largest in the world. The targeted income from Tourism in the State is Rs. 10,000 crores. Kerala is way ahead of the other states in India, in terms of infrastructure and marketing” he said.
27th Sep, being the World Tourism Day, the Hon’ble Union Minister for Culture and Tourism, Smt. Ambika Soni released the theme “ Tourism enriches the economy, culture, environment and peace and Tourism enriches individuals, families and all the world communities”. She said that the Union Government will consider providing long term visas with multiple entry to facilitate medical tourism.
She also said that steps will be taken to ensure that tourists will receive visas immediately on their arrival into India . She assured the gathering “ despite the political contradictions, we have decided that the tourists will travel and stay safely in the State. No strike or agitation will come in the way of a tourist. Special emphasis will be given by the Tourism Ministry to attract MICE ( Meetings, Incentives, Conferences & Exhibitions) to India.”