For tourists from West Bengal smitten by the travel bug, the eternal favourite, Kerala, is calling. In its latest initiative to promote tourism in the time of demonetisation, Kerala Tourism along with the state government will be hosting the third edition of the Kochi Muziris Biennale  a global contemporary art festival that has lent a new tag to the state, the Land of the Biennale.

The Kochi Muziris Biennale kicked off last year and will be on till 17 March. According to Nandakumar K P, deputy director, Kerala Tourism, The biennale is held on the trail of the spice route from Kochi to Muziris, the two ancient ports of Kerala, and we are looking ahead to revive them through tourism. We have invited 15 chefs from places across the world to churn out delights inspired by the Spice Route.

Nandakumar was speaking at the Kerala Tourism Partnership Meet 2017 in Kolkata recently. There were around 48 holiday planners from Kerala to interact with the travel trade industry of Kolkata.

Nandakumar said, Kolkata is our old tourist market and with the passing of every year, the tourist count from West Bengal is steadily on the rise in the state. Our travel industry is also gearing up with products that are in demand by Bengal tourists. We are receiving tourists from North Bengal towns as well. Besides Kolkata, Kerala Tourism is exploring the new tourist market of Ranchi. Nandakumar further said, We are hosting our campaigns in Ranchi, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad this year.

Demonetisation has made its impact on the tourism industry in Kerala bringing about a 10 to 15 per cent dip in domestic tourists footfall.

In a bid to tide over the economic crisis, Kerala Tourism is going all out to provide support to those travelling to its shores. Nandakumar added, Demonetisation has hit everybody but it will be helpful in the long run. Creating sustainable tourism that would be environment-friendly and secure at the same time is our agenda.

The state has the highest number of global tourists coming from the UK, US and Gulf countries. The domestic tourists visiting the state are mostly from the metros. Nandakumar said, The best season to visit the state is during monsoon when hotel rates are slashed but the travel experience is incredible.

We have received around 10 lakh global tourists and upwards of one crore domestic tourists till September 2016. We are looking ahead to have about 1.4 crore domestic visitors till March 2017.