Kerala Tourism Participates in Mediterranean Tourism Market in Tel Aviv
Kochi: For the first time in its history, Kerala Tourism has participated in the International Mediterranean Tourism Market (IMTM) in Tel Aviv, strongly foraying into the largely untapped Israeli market in a bid to substantially increase footfalls from the Middle East country and forge durable bonds with its tourism sector.
P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Tourism led the Kerala delegation at the two-day IMTM 2019, the largest annual professional tourism fair of its kind in the Eastern Mediterranean and the official and only professional exhibition for the tourism trade market in Israel.
On the occasion, Kerala Tourism launched a sleek and glossy coffee table book, a first-of-its-kind visual odyssey of the Jews who decided to make Kerala their home before several of the diasporic community going back to Israel, their fatherland.
The book was formally launched by Pavan Kapoor, Indian Ambassador to Israel, who also visited the Kerala stall at the event.
The book, aptly titled ‘One Heart, Two Worlds – The Story of The Jews of Kochi’, brings alive the riveting real-life account of the Jewish community in Kochi, their hearts caught between a deep love for their adopted motherland, India, and a 2000-year-long yearning of the Jews across the world to return to their fatherland.
Expressing happiness over Kerala Tourism’s debut at the IMTM, Kadakampally Surendran, Tourism Minister, said it was an extremely successful outing for the State’s tourism. “In the highly competitive global marketplace, we need to scout for new source markets abroad to attract tourists. Our participation in a prestigious event like IMTM will act as a trigger to meet that objective.”
The Minister said there is a direct flight from Tel Aviv, the second most populous city in Israel, to Delhi and Mumbai. “Now a new direct flight will be launched this September from Tel Aviv to Kochi by Arkia Israeli Airlines, which will be a major boost to tourism in India in general and Kerala in particular,” he added.
Rani George IAS, Secretary, Tourism said Kerala’s participation in IMTM was part of an aggressive campaign of its tourism department to woo visitors from non-traditional markets. “We have already made strong presence in the Gulf countries like the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Forging strong ties with Israel’s tourism segment will open new vistas of expansion for Kerala Tourism in that region,” she noted.
Kerala was visited by 15,339 Israeli tourists in 2018, a huge increase of 29 per cent as compared to 11,892 in 2017 and 10,922 in 2016.