Kerala Tourism Development Corporation
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) is a public sector undertaking that conducts and regulates the tourism activities of the Indian state of Kerala. The KTDC is headquartered at Thiruvanathapuram and has offices across all the districts of Kerala. The agency also operates hotels, resorts, and tourist rest houses in key locations in the state. Its official slogan is "Official host to God's own country." It is one of the most profitable ventures of the Kerala government.
Kerala was a relatively unknown state among tourist circles until the early 1960s. The first initiative to popularize Kerala as a tourist destination was undertaken by Travancore's first prince: H.H. Col. Goda Varma Raja (husband of H.H. The Queen of Travancore) started Kerala Tours Limited to popularize key tourist locations in Travancore Kingdom. When Travancore merged with India, Kerala Tours Limited became a private entity under the Travancore royal family. For more than 20 years since Independence, Kerala trend to ignore tourism as a key industry, leaving KTL and other private players to lead the role. In the 1960s, KTL struck gold, by collaborating with Thomas Cook and started popularizing Kovalam in western countries which started the advent of hippie culture in Kovalam Beach. The strong inflow of tourists into Kovalam, started Kerala government to consider tourism as a key industry. Though it tried to nationalize Kerala Tours Limited, it soon fell into legal issues. This resulted in the government to think starting a new entity known as Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) IN 1966.
Started as department, KTDC became a separate commercial entity by the 1970s. Several premium guest houses of Kerala Government were identified and converted into hotel brands, making strong profits of organization.
To promote Kerala as a leading tourist destination
To identify key tourist destinations within Kerala and promote it outside
To provide auxiliary support in developing key tourist destinations
To provide highest quality hospitality services to tourists
To act as one-source destination for various informations regarding tourist destinations and other related informations.
To ensure higher returns to government, through financial and social viable projects, and thereby provide employment
Hotels and motels
Over years, KTDC emerged itself as a key hospitality player with more than 40 properties ranging from heritage five-star resorts to budget accommodation. KTDC is one of the few Indian government-owned hotel chains that have clearly marketed with strong branding and aggressive promotions. KTDC manages its properties under four brands
KTDC has two resorts and six five- and four-star hotels. All properties in the premium range are individually branded and offers highest sense of luxury hospitality.
Bolgatty Island Resort, which houses the famous Bolgatty Palace, a heritage property is the largest Dutch palace outside the Netherlands. The resort has another property, branded as Island Resort, which has a nine-course golf club, horsing tracks and all other premium facilities.
Marina House: KTDC manages India's first marina which includes a 24-room premium hotel, Marina House, located in Bolgatty Island (West), Kochi.
Mascot Hotel Trivandrum, located in state capital Thiruvananthapuram is a heritage property built in 1902 which used to accommodate Travancore Army officials and Army Center until 1949.
Hotel Arya Nivas, Thekkady, Kerala
Lake Palace ("be part of a royal legacy"), a former summer palace of the King of Travancore, is on an island in the middle of the Periyar Lake — 20 minutes by boat from the mainland. Located inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve, this is where the British viceroys and governor-generals used to take time off to listen to the call of the wild. This lakeside jungle resort with six rooms and antique interiors within the Periyar Tiger Reserve is ideal for guests to watch elephant herds playing by the lakeside or take a trek across the jungle in the trail of the majestic tiger. Life couldn’t get any more royal than this.
Arya Nivas Thekkady built within Periyar National Park is a five-star jungle lodge which hosted several leading international personalities.
Waterscapes Kumarakom is a unique lake cottage suites built over Vembanadu Lake in the internationally acclaimed tourist destination: Kumarakom.
Samudra Beach Kovalam, a five-star property in Kovalam Beach
Tea Country Munnar, a heritage colonial tea estate bungalow refurnished as a four-star hotel
KTDC has three-star value plus range hotels across five districts of Kerala. Most of hotels are designed to cater business and upper-segment family crowds. Each value plus hotel property is themed around its location.
Golden Peak Ponmudi: Honeymoon Hotel
Chitaram Thiruvananthapuram: City Business Hotel
Nandhanam Guruvayur: Pilgrim Hotel
Periyar House Thekkady: Jungle Safari Lodge
Garden House Malampuzha: Picnic Hotel
Peppergrove Wayanad: Spice Garden Hotel
The newest addition to KTDC, Tarmind Eaze are a series of 15 budget hotels spread across Kerala, to cater growing number of budget tourists
KTDC was one of the first hospitality chain in India to start series of motels across major state and national highways. The motels are branded as Aaram, which are designed as roadside multi-cuisine restaurants. Every Aaram has a large well-maintained restaurant, rest rooms and many motels have dormitories as well as a medical center. In 2007, another series of motels branded as Vazhiroram started as a public-private partnership, which didn't find as success as Aaram. A few designated Aarams do have beer parlors which serves limited alcohol drinks as well as beer.
KTDC sells packaged tours of Kerala across world, through a wide network of travel agents and tour agencies who act as general sales agents of KTDC. More than 20 products are offered by KTDC, which many have won wide accolades.
Conducted and sight-seeing tours
KTDC conducts one- and two-day conducted sight-seeing tours in major cities as well as in tourist centers. This includes bus/tourist cars trips and boat ferries.
KTDC have several tourist reception centers in all major cities and tourist centers, from where conducted tours start and end, in addition to providing complementary information about tourist destinations, maps and guides.
Tourism in Kerala
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Kerala, a state situated on the tropical Malabar Coast of southwestern India, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Named as one of the ten paradises of the world by the National Geographic Traveler, Kerala is famous especially for its ecotourism initiatives. Its unique culture and traditions, coupled with its varied demography, has made Kerala one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Growing at a rate of 13.31%, the tourism industry is a major contributor to the state's economy.
Until the early 1980s, Kerala was a relatively unknown destination, with most tourism circuits concentrated around the north of the country. Aggressive marketing campaigns launched by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation—the government agency that oversees tourism prospects of the state—laid the foundation for the growth of the tourism industry. In the decades that followed, Kerala Tourism was able to transform itself into one of the niche holiday destinations in India. The tag line Kerala- God's Own Country was adopted in its tourism promotions and became a global superbrand. Kerala is regarded as one of the destinations with the highest brand recall. In 2010, Kerala attracted 0.66 million foreign tourist arrivals.
Popular attractions in the state include the beaches at Kovalam, Cherai and Varkala; backwater tourism and lake resorts around Vembanad Lake, Kumarakom and Alapuzha; hill stations and resorts at Munnar, Wayanad, Nelliampathi, Vagamon and Ponmudi; and national parks and wildlife sanctuaries at Periyar and Eravikulam National Park. The "backwaters" region—an extensive network of interlocking rivers, lakes, and canals that centre on Alleppey, Kumarakom, and Punnamada—also see heavy tourist traffic. Heritage sites, such as the Padmanabhapuram Palace, Hill Palace, Mattancherry Palace are also visited. Kochi, followed by Thiruvananthapuram (Trivandrum) ranks among the top tourist destinations of Kerala in 2010. These cities are also popular for shopping and traditional theatrical performances.
The state's tourism agenda promotes ecologically sustained tourism, which focuses on the local culture, wilderness adventures, volunteering and personal growth of the local population. Efforts are taken to minimise the adverse effects of traditional tourism on the natural environment, and enhance the cultural integrity of local people.
Resorts dot the lengths and breadths of Kerala.
Since its incorporation as a state, Kerala's economy largely operated under welfare-based democratic socialist principles. This mode of development, though resulted in a high Human Development Index and standard of living among the people, lead to an economic stagnation in the 1980s (growth rate of 2.3% annually) This apparent paradox — high human development and low economic development — lead to a large number of educated unemployed seeking jobs overseas, especially in the Gulf countries. Due to the large number of expatriates, many travel operators and agencies set shop in the state to facilitate their travel needs. However, the trends soon reciprocated with the travel agencies noticing the undermined potential of the state as a tourist destination. First travel agency in kerala, Kerala Travels was founded by Col G.V. Raja of the Travancore royal family along with P.G.C. Pillai and the third generation of the families run the operations now.Having started out in 1959 in the corridor of the state-run Mascot Hotel here, Kerala Travels now is present in 122 locations in the country and 85 places across the world through its arm Interserve Travel, which was founded in 1997.Kerala Travels has many firsts to its credit. Billed as the first travel agency in Kerala, it was the first to come out with a tourism brochure, offer Antarctica-Arctic packages and now is working on an ambitious plan to send children to space.
By 1986, tourism had gained an industry status. Kerala Tourism subsequently adopted the tagline God's Own Country in its advertisement campaigns. Aggressive promotion in print and electronic media were able to invite a sizable investment in the hospitality industry. By the early 2000s, tourism had grown into a fully fledged, multi-billion dollar industry in the state. The state was able to carve a niche place for itself in the world tourism industry, thus becoming one of the places with the 'highest brand recall'. In 2003, Kerala, a hitherto unknown tourism destination, became the fastest growing tourism destination in the world.
Today, growing at a rate of 13.31%, Kerala is one of the most visited tourism destinations in India.
Main article: Beaches in Kerala
Flanked on the western coast by the Arabian Sea, Kerala has a long coastline of 580 km (360 mi); all of which is virtually dotted with sandy beaches.
Kovalam beach near Thiruvananthapuram was among the first beaches in Kerala to attract tourists. Rediscovered by back-packers and tan-seekers in the sixties and followed by hordes of hippies in the seventies, Kovalam is today the most visited beach in the state.
Other popularly visited beaches in the state include those at Alappuzha Beach,Nattika beach[Thrissur], Vadanappilly beach[Thrissur], Cherai Beach, Kappad, Kovalam, Marari beach, Fort Kochi and Varkala. The Muzhappilangad Beach beach at Kannur is the only drive-in beach in India, Bekal kasargod.
A house boat on the backwaters near Alleppey in Kerala
Main article: Kerala Backwaters
The backwaters in Kerala are a chain of brackish lagoons and lakes lying parallel to the Arabian Sea coast (known as the Malabar Coast). Kettuvallam (Kerala houseboats) in the backwaters are one of the prominent tourist attractions in Kerala. Alleppey, known as the "Venice of the East" has a large network of canals that meander through the town. The Vallam Kali (the Snake Boat Race) held every year in August is a major sporting attraction.
The backwater network includes five large lakes (including Ashtamudi Kayal and Vembanad Kayal) linked by 1500 km of canals, both manmade and natural, fed by 38 rivers, and extending virtually the entire length of Kerala state. The backwaters were formed by the action of waves and shore currents creating low barrier islands across the mouths of the many rivers flowing down from the Western Ghats range.
Perunthenaruvi water falls near Pathanamthitta, Kerala
Eastern Kerala consists of land encroached upon by the Western Ghats; the region thus includes high mountains, gorges, and deep-cut valleys. The wildest lands are covered with dense forests, while other regions lie under tea and coffee plantations (established mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries) or other forms of cultivation. The Western Ghats rises on average to 1500 m elevation above sea level. Certain peaks may reach to 2500 m. Popular hill stations in the region include Devikulam, Munnar, Nelliyampathi, Peermade, Ponmudi, Vagamon, Wayanad and Kottancheri Hills.
Main article: Flora and fauna of Kerala
Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad is home to the largest population of lion-tailed Macaque.They are among the World's rarest and most threatened primates
The Konni Elephant Training Centre near Pathanamthitta - Old Training Cage
The Konni Elephant Training Centre near Pathanamthitta - The Soman
The Konni Elephant Training Centre near Pathanamthitta - A view of The premises
Most of Kerala, whose native habitat consists of wet evergreen rainforests at lower elevations and highland deciduous and semi-evergreen forests in the east, is subject to a humid tropical climate. however, significant variations in terrain and elevation have resulted in a land whose biodiversity registers as among the world’s most significant. Most of Kerala's significantly biodiverse tracts of wilderness lie in the evergreen forests of its easternmost districts. Kerala also hosts two of the world’s Ramsar Convention-listed wetlands: Lake Sasthamkotta and the Vembanad-Kol wetlands are noted as being wetlands of international importance. There are also numerous protected conservation areas, including 1455.4 km² of the vast Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve. In turn, the forests play host to such major fauna as Asian Elephant (Elephas maximus), Bengal Tiger (Panthera tigris tigris), Leopard (Panthera pardus), and Nilgiri Tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius), and Grizzled Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura). More remote preserves, including Silent Valley National Park in the Kundali Hills, harbor endangered species such as Lion-tailed Macaque (Macaca silenus), Indian Sloth Bear (Melursus (Ursus) ursinus ursinus), and Gaur (the so-called "Indian Bison" — Bos gaurus). More common species include Indian Porcupine (Hystrix indica), Chital (Axis axis), Sambar (Cervus unicolor), Gray Langur, Flying Squirrel, Swamp Lynx (Felis chaus kutas), Boar (Sus scrofa), a variety of catarrhine Old World monkey species, Gray Wolf (Canis lupus), Common Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). Many reptiles, such as king cobra, viper, python, various turtles and crocodiles are to be found in Kerala — again, disproportionately in the east. Kerala's avifauna include endemics like the Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger), Oriental Bay Owl, large frugivores like the Great Hornbill (Buceros bicornis) and Indian Grey Hornbill, as well as the more widespread birds such as Peafowl, Indian Cormorant, Jungle and Hill Myna, Oriental Darter, Black-hooded Oriole, Greater Racket-tailed and Black Drongoes, bulbul (Pycnonotidae), species of Kingfisher and Woodpecker, Jungle Fowl, Alexandrine Parakeet, and assorted ducks and migratory birds. Additionally, freshwater fish such as kadu (stinging catfish — Heteropneustes fossilis) and brackishwater species such as Choottachi (orange chromide — Etroplus maculatus; valued as an aquarium specimen) also are native to Kerala's lakes and waterways.
The major festival in Kerala is Onam. Kerala has a number of religious festivals. Thrissur Pooram and Chettikulangara Bharani are the major temple festivals in Kerala. The Thrissur Pooram is conducted at the Vadakumnathan temple, Thrissur. The Chettikulangara Bharani is another major attraction. The festival is conducted at the Chettikulangara temple near Mavelikkara. The Sivarathri is also an important festival in Kerala. This festival is mainly celebrated in Aluva Temple and Padanilam Parabrahma Temple. Padanilam Temple is situated in Alappuzha district of Kerala, about 16 km from Mavelikkara town. Parumala Perunnal, Manarkadu Perunnal are the major festivals of Christians. Muslims also have many important festivals.
Karunagappally Taluk in Kollam District is the world's hottest spot of natural radiation. The radiation is caused by monazite sands, which contain the radioactive element, thorium.  The people in the area are exposed to radiation which is 10 times greater than the worldwide average. Tourist spots that offer the chance of the Radiation experience are very rare in the world.
Medical tourism, promoted by traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Siddha are widely popular in the state, and draws increasing numbers of tourists. A combination of many factors has led to the increase in popularity of medical tourism: high costs of healthcare in industrialised nations, ease and affordability of international travel, improving technology and standards of care.
However, rampant recent growth in this sector has made the government apprehensive. The government is now considering introduction of a grading system which would grade hospitals and clinics, thus helping tourists in selecting one for their treatments.
Main articles: Arts of Kerala and Culture of Kerala
Face of a Kathakali artist (Kathi Vesham)
Vishnu Moorthy Theyyam in Naduvilathu Kottam near Payyannur, Kannur.
The Padayani - Annual Ritual Performance of Kadammanitta & Thazhoor Bhagavathy Temple at Vazhamuttom near Pathanamthitta
Kerala's culture is mainly Dravidian in origin, deriving from a greater Tamil-heritage region known as Tamilakam. Later, Kerala's culture was elaborated on through centuries of contact with overseas cultures. Native performing arts include koodiyattom, kathakali – from katha ("story") and kali ("play") – and its offshoot Kerala natanam, koothu (akin to stand-up comedy), mohiniaattam ("dance of the enchantress"), thullal, padayani, and theyyam. Other arts are more religion- and tribal-themed. These include chavittu nadakom, oppana (originally from Malabar), which combines dance, rhythmic hand clapping, and ishal vocalisations. However, many of these artforms largely play to tourists or at youth festivals, and are not as popular among most ordinary Keralites. These people look to more contemporary art and performance styles, including those employing mimicry and parody. Additionally, a substantial Malayalam film industry effectively competes against both Bollywood and Hollywood.
Several ancient ritualised arts are Keralite in origin; these include kalaripayattu (kalari ("place", "threshing floor", or "battlefield") and payattu ("exercise" or "practice")). Among the world's oldest martial arts, oral tradition attributes kalaripayattu's emergence to Parasurama. Other ritual arts include theyyam, poorakkali and Kuthiyottam.
Kuthiyottam is a ritualistic symbolic representation of human bali (homicide). Folklore exponents see this art form, with enchanting well structured choreography and songs, as one among the rare Adi Dravida folklore traditions still preserved and practiced in Central Kerala in accordance to the true tradition and environment. Typical to the Adi Dravida folk dances and songs, the movements and formations of dancers (clad in white thorthu and banyan) choreographed in Kuthiyottam are quick, peaks at a particular point and ends abruptly. The traditional songs also start in a stylish slow pace, then gain momentum and ends abruptly.
Kuthiyotta Kalaris’, run by Kuthiyotta Ashans (Teachers or leaders), train the group to perform the dances and songs. Normally, the training starts about one to two months before the season. Young boys between 8 to 14 years are taught Kuthiyottam, a ritual dance in the house amidst a big social gathering before the portrait of the deity. Early in the morning on Bharani, after the feast and other rituals, the boys whose bodies are coiled with silver wires, one end of which is tied around his neck and an arecanut fixed on the tip of a knife held high over his head are taken in procession to the temple with the accompaniment of beating of drums, music, ornamental umbrellas, and other classical folk art forms, and richly caparisoned elephants.
All through the way to the temple tender coconut water will be continually poured on his body. After the circumambulation the boys stands at a position facing the Sreekovil (Sanctum Sanctorum) and begins to dance. This ceremony ends with dragging the coil pierced to the skin whereby a few drops of blood comes out.
On this day just after midday the residents of the locality bring huge decorated effigies of Bhima panchalia, Hanuman and extremely beautiful tall chariots in wheeled platforms, and after having darshan the parties take up their respective position in the paddy fields lying east of the temple.
During the night, the image of Devi will be carried in procession to the effigies stationed in the paddy fields. On the next day these structures will be taken back. A big bazaar is also held at Chetikulangara as part of this festival. Kuthiyottam is the main vazipadu of the Chettikulangara temple, Mavelikkara.
In respect of Fine Arts, the State has an abounding tradition of both ancient and contemporary art and artists.The traditional Kerala murals are found in ancient temples, churches and palaces across the State. These paintings, mostly dating back between the 9th to 12th centuries AD, display a distinct style, and a colour code which is predominantly ochre and green.
A procession of gold-caparisoned Kerala elephants at the Thrissur Pooram
Like the rest of India, religious diversity is very prominent in Kerala. The principal religions are Hinduism, Christianity, and Islam; Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, and Buddhism have smaller followings. The states historic ties with the rest of the world has resulted in the state having many famous temples, churches, and mosques. The Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi is the oldest in the Commonwealth of Nations.
Recognising the potential of tourism in the diversity of religious faiths, related festivals and structures, the tourism department launched a Pilgrimage tourism project.
Major pilgrim tourism attractions include Guruvayur, Sabarimala, Malayatoor, Paradesi Synagogue, St. Mary's Forane (Martha Mariam) Church Kuravilangad built in 105 A.D, Attukal Pongala(which has the Guinness record for being the largest gathering of women in the planet), and Chettikulangara Bharani.
See also: Pooram
Kerala Tourism is noted for its innovative and market-focused ad campaigns. These campaigns have won the tourism department numerous awards, including the Das Golden Stadttor Award for Best Commercial, 2006, Pacific Asia Travel Association- Gold Award for Marketing, 2003 and the Government of India's Best Promotion Literature, 2004, Best Publishing, 2004 and Best Tourism Film, 2001.
Catchy slogans and innovative designs are considered a trademark of brand Kerala Tourism. Celebrity promotions are also used to attract more tourists to the state. The Kerala tourism website is widely visited, and has been the recipient of many awards. Recently, the tourism department has also engaged in advertising via mobiles, by setting up a WAP portal, and distributing wallpapers and ringtones related to Kerala through it.
Threats to the tourism industry
With increasing threats posed by global warming and changing weather patterns, it is feared that much of Kerala's low lying areas might be susceptible to beach erosions and coastal flooding . The differing monsoon patterns also suggest possible tropical cyclones in the future.
The state has won numerous awards for its tourism initiatives. These include:
2005 - Nominated as one among the three finalists at the World Travel and Tourism Council's ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ awards in the destination category.
Das Golden Stadttor Award for Best Commercial, 2006
A grassy hill in Ranipuram, Kasaragod.
Pacific Asia Travel Association
Grand award for Environment, 2006
Gold award for Ecotourism, 2006
Gold award for Publication, 2006
Gold Award for E-Newsletter, 2005
Honourable Mention for Culture, 2005
Gold Award for Culture, 2004
Gold Award for Ecotourism, 2004
Gold Award for CD-ROM, 2004 and 2003
Gold Award for Marketing, 2003
Grand Award for Heritage, 2002
Kerala, nicknamed as "God's own country", has a reputation of being one of the most beautiful states in Southern India. Shown here is Munnar, in Kerala.
Pacific Asia Travel Writers Association
International Award for Leisure Tourism, 2000–2001
Government of India
Best Performing Tourism State, 2005
Best Maintained Tourist-friendly Monument, 2005
Best Publishing, 2005
Best Marketed and Promoted State, 2004.
Best Maintained Tourist-friendly Monument, 2004
Best Innovative Tourism Project, 2004
Best Promotion Literature, 2004
Best Publishing, 2004
Best Performing State for 2003, 2001, 2000 and 1999 - Award for Excellence in Tourism.
Best Practices by a State Government, 2003
Best Eco-tourism Product, 2003
Best Wildlife Sanctuary, 2003
Most Innovative Use of Information Technology, 2003 and 2001
Most Tourist-friendly International Airport, 2002
Most Eco-friendly Destination, 2002
Best Tourism Film, 2001
Outlook Traveller - TAAI
Best State that promoted Travel & Tourism, 2000–2001
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
Award for Best Marketing, 2003
Award for Best Use of IT in Tourism, 2003
Galileo - Express Travel & Tourism
Award for the Best Tourism Board, 2006
Award for the Best State Tourism Board, 2003
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