labels: tourism, investments
Kerala plans to showcase preferred tourist locations at GIM news
Jays Jacob
10 January 2003

Kochi: Kerala will showcase preferred tourist locations such as Vagamon and Bekal, the Theerapadam project, setting up of a star hotel at Nedumbassery and the Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Science at Malayatoor along with 25 other destination development projects to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore at the Global Investors Meet (GIM).

The state government is in possession of land in all the major projects to be presented at the GIM by a team headed by Tourism Minister K V Thomas in Kochi on 18 and 19 January 2003. “We are confident that the investment will come through for the projects as the tourism sector has emerged as a major sector already. The major chunk of investment received by the state has come in the tourism sector during the last 10 years,” says director of tourism Alkesh Kumar Sharma.

The investment options being offered on the beaches, backwaters, forests and hill stations of the God’s Own Country are mainly for destination development, enhancing accommodation facilities, recreational facilities, setting up of human resource development institutes, ayurvedic spas and treatment centres, watersport facilities.

Several leading groups, including those from abroad, have expressed interest in Vagamon, where 1,800 acres of land is being developed as a “holistic health destination,” says Sharma. Many have already visited Vagamon located in Idukki district.

A detailed master plan, comprising a five-year micro-plan and a 30-year micro-development plan, is being prepared by a New Delhi-based consultant for developing Vagamon. Ayurvedic centres, naturopathy centres, mini golf course, retreat centres, eco-lodges, research and interpretation centres has been proposed.

The department will provide basic infrastructure facilities such as roads, water supply, electricity, waste disposal plants to facilitate private investors to come in a big way to develop Vagamon into a major tourist destination.

Six sites are ready for investment at Bekal in Kasaragod district. Several leading hotel groups within the country had evinced interest in setting up properties at Bekal. The government has land and building at Malayatoor for the proposed Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Science. The department proposed to set up the institute on the premises where the local chapter of the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS) is functioning at Malayattoor.

The 25 minor tourism projects to be presented in the GIM included setting up of aquariums, oceanariums, development of beaches and ayurvedic parks in the Malabar region, setting up of watersport centres, cultural villages and water-based recreational facilities at Ashtamudi.

Pre-feasibility reports for 50 projects to be submitted at the GIM are already complete, according to Jiji Thomson, managing director, Kerala State Industries Development Coproration (KSIDC), the nodal agency for the GIM. Talking to reporters here, Thomson said nearly 100 project ideas will be showcased to prospective investors at the global meet, in which nearly 750 delegates would attend.

The groundwork has been undertaken by KSIDC and other agencies during the past one year for making the GIM a success. However, he cautioned against building up a hype around the GIM, the outcome of which would have to be adjudged after years and the benefit that may accrue to the state in the form of investments would be long in coming.

Also, he emphasised that no decision will be taken at the GIM and the agreement, if any, will be signed only after the proposals are discussed with the all-party representatives and with the cabinet approval. At the most, what may happen was signing of memorandums of understanding in the rarest of rare cases, he said. Answering a question, he said no irrigation project will be taken up at the GIM. The cost of the conduct of the meet is pegged at around Rs 5 crore.

He said the development schemes undertaken by the government since April 2001 will come as investment. The GIM is expected to showcase projects worth Rs 7,788 crore. This could go up to Rs 10,000 crore if more proposals are taken up by the end of the meet, he said.

Various government departments like KWA, PWD, Housing Board, Health, Education and KSRTC have projects to the tune of Rs 1,026.81 crore, medium- and large-scale industries to the tune of Rs 1,124 crore, while small-scale industries have projects worth Rs 67.32 crore. Projects under active promotion at the GIM account for another Rs 5,570 crore.

These include the Kochi skybus metro project (Rs 830 crore), an international residential school at Thiruvananthapuram (Rs 20 crore), sea-sand mining (Rs 300 crore), illemnite mining (Rs 1,500 crore), holistic health village (Rs 250 crore) and the Kannur airport project (Rs 300 crore).

On implementation these projects would provide employment to 1,40,000 persons, he said. To another question, the KSIDC managing director said the traditional sector along with the manufacturing sector will get pride of place at the GIM.

Meanwhile, KSIDC signed an MoU today with the Cochin Shipyard to promote a technology park in Kochi, said Venu Nallur of the corporation. The project envisages promotion of electronics hardware units, IT and other knowledge-based units at the park at Panampilly Nagar where the CSL owns land.

The total cost of the project is Rs 65 crore and it will be promoted as a joint venture between the shipyard, KSIDC and a select private group. The park is expected to provide employment to 10,000 persons. The project will be showcased in the GIM to attract private investment.

The KSIDC also signed another MoU with the Galfar group to set up an oceanarium-cum-hi-tech theme park at Kovalam. The cost of the project is estimated at Rs 20 crore and is to be implemented in 15 months, summed up Jiji Thomson.


 search domain-b
Kerala plans to showcase preferred tourist locations at GIM