ATM AN OPPORTUNITY FOR KERALA TO REVITALIZE THE GULF CONNECT
Dubai is once again getting ready to host the 26th edition of Arabian Travel Market (ATM), the region’s largest international travel trade fair. As always, Kerala Tourism is leading a delegation to the event scheduled from April 28 to May 1 at Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre. Success at ATM 2019 is extremely critical for God’s Own Country, as the GCC States are one of its top source markets.
According to latest statistics, in 2018, Kerala recorded a 24.51 per cent dip in tourist arrivals from Saudi Arabia, which is the fifth biggest source market for the State, compared to 2017. While the Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) from Oman showed a decline of 18.28 per cent compared to 2017, the number of tourists from the UAE decreased by 21.39 per cent. The scenario is no different in terms of FTAs from Kuwait and Bahrain, a decline of 37.76 per cent and 20.09 per cent respectively. The only State from where FTAs increased is Qatar, from 4448 in 2017 to 6596 travellers in 2018. Though Qataris are huge spenders, the base number is quite small to make a difference.
Contrast this with the fact that Indian visitor traffic to all GCC nations grew well in 2017. The UAE welcomed 2.3 million Indian tourists, accounting for 13 per cent of its total annual visitors, and this figure is expected to increase at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 7 per cent till 2022. In fact, India is the biggest source market for the UAE. So the reasons for the decline in travellers to India and especially Kerala, a land with which the Arabs have connections dating back centuries, need thorough review and urgent corrective action.
Destination Kerala will be at ATM 2019. Stay tuned for on the ground updates.
Continuing our series ‘Malabar Maestros’ showcasing the leading lights of the entrepreneur ecosystem in North Kerala, the cover story this month features N K Abdul Jaleel, the king of out-of-home media in Kerala. Apart from running Jay ‘N’ Jay Hoarding Company, he has also diversified into PVC designer doors (Stylex Doors) and hi-tech dairy farming (Edayur Farms), ably supported by son Junaid. Read the story on page 28.
Finally, the dates for the parliamentary elections have been announced. The next two months will witness a slowdown, as industry sentiment gets overcome with anxiety and government machinery changes focus to the impartial conduct of the world’s biggest suffrage exercise.
We all have a voice. We also have a vote. Make it count.