‘God’s own country’ beckons Big Apple

Kerala tourism minister on a 3-city road show in the US.

By Global India Newswire

NEW YORK: A 14-member delegation from Kerala, led by the state Tourism Minister A.P. Anilkumar, kicked off a three-city US road show, aimed at attracting more American tourists to the southern Indian state, here, on Monday.

The delegation will meet more than a 100 US tour operators and other stakeholders in the next three days, Anilkumar told Global India Newswire, on Monday.

This is the first-ever road show of its kind launched by the Kerala government in the United States, according to the minister.

Besides Anilkumar, the delegation consists of tourism secretary Suman Billa and 12 private tour operators. It will hold similar road shows in Chicago on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Thursday.

According to the minister, in 2012, more than 53,000 Americans visited Kerala, termed by the National Geographic Traveler as one of the 50 must-see destinations.

Union Ministry of Tourism data reveals that more than a million Americans arrived in India last year, and tourists from the United States accounted for nearly 16% of all foreigners arrived in India in 2012, by far the most.

The minister hoped that the current campaign will succeed in attracting more U.S. tourists to the state.

Tens of thousands of Americans travel to the neighboring Karnataka, home to the information technology hub Bangalore. The minister said efforts are under way to persuade those business travelers to visit Kerala, too.

More than 20 million foreigners visited India last year, according to the Ministry of Tourism.

Kerala was the eighth largest destination for foreign tourists behind Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Bihar. The southern state, known for its fabulous backwaters, beaches, mountains and paddy fields and coconut orchards, attracted nearly 800,000 foreign visitors last year, accounting for 3.8% of the total visits.

Visitors from the United Kingdom, France and Germany were the leading foreign nationals that visited the state.

To contact the author, email to editor@americanbazaaronline.com

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