Rs.10 bn investment expected from Kerala diaspora meet


Kochi : The two-day diaspora meet “Ente Naadu”, billed as a platform for the Kerala diaspora to invest in tourism projects in the state, concluded here Wednesday with an investment of over Rs.10 billion expected to take place in the coming years, a minister said.

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Over 500 non-resident Keralites (NRKs) from 42 countries took part in the two-day event.

State Minister for Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan told IANS that the response was fantastic and the delegates were delighted to look into various projects showcased at the meet.

“The two-day meet has set the ball rolling. Through this meeting, prospective investors had a feel of the various projects that were showcased. We expect a total investment of more than Rs.1,000 crores (Rs.10 billion) to take place in the coming years through the various projects,” said Balakrishnan.

The types of projects included small accommodations, resorts, Ayurveda centres to health services, fast food, souvenirs, aero sports and a wax museum.

The project ideas from architects in Kerala included a floating market in Alappuzha, fashion street in Kannur, a drive-in restaurant in Munnar, and a water ski park in Thrissur.

But Balakrishnan added that the programme “Bring a friend to Kerala in 2009” would be the next major campaign point for Kerala tourism.

“We will hold road shows to this effect in various countries and the delegates who came here will act as the brand ambassadors for Kerala tourism. We will prepare an action plan to this effect and would conduct the shows in the next three to four months,” said Balakrishnan.

“This novel idea of involving the NRKs has received a huge thumbs up from the industry. It is a great idea to involve NRKs and one which has the potential to accelerate tourism growth in the state,” said Kerala Travel Mart president E.M. Najeeb.

Another leading tourism honcho, Jose Dominic of C.G.H. Earth, said that with the global economic crisis NRKs could provide much needed equity to existing projects while taking advantage of lower prices.

“Ente Naadu” was a Kerala initiative organised by the tourism department in association with the industries department and managed by Tourist Resorts Kerala Ltd.