Kerala’s tourism revival package has new products and a unique positioning with an eye on the post-pandemic domestic traveler.
God’s Own Nation has a completely different pitch and proposition for the post-pandemic explorer. Starting from the beginning of the year, Kerala has been on a marketing and advertising blitzkrieg to show that the state isn’t simply Ayurveda, sea shores and backwaters.
Its re-focused new ad campaigns “Change of Air” and “Travel for Good” lay out the doormat for the domestic visitor and the millennial explorer, rather than the stirring brand movies of yore “Your Moment is Waiting” and “Human by Nature” that were aimed more at the worldwide voyager.Kerala Travel Tourism!
Caravan tourism, adventure tourism, and responsible tourism are three major new items the state has unveiled post-pandemic even as it keeps on advancing ecotourism, cultural tourism, wellness tourism, and recreational travel.
Over the most recent few months, VR Krishna Teja, Director of Kerala Tourism, has been on overdrive, personally doing roadshows in different Indian cities, showcasing the attractions of Kerala to domestic buyers. He has already pushed Kerala’s case in five cities, and a total of 20 cities are on his schedule. Obviously, worldwide explorers are not overlooked either, so the Kerala recommendation has been to Spain, Italy, Britain, and Dubai as well.
At these roadshows and at the recently concluded Kerala Travel Mart in Kochi, attended by 1,500 representatives (300 of them global), Teja kicked off his presentations with the state’s two major advertisement campaigns made post-Coronavirus — “Change of Air” and “Travel for Good” — as well as a film promoting caravan tourism.
Shelton Pinheiro, Chief Creative Chief, Stark Communications, the organization behind the missions. “There was a shift towards the domestic client in our missions post-pandemic. One of the insights we assembled was the big concern for air. Individuals needed to make a trip to wide, open spaces and take in unadulterated air. This additionally played into the discourse on air contamination that numerous cities in India were confronting. “Shelton Pinheiro, Chief Creative Chief
In the promotion, we see a concerned mother teaching her little girl not to touch things as the family heads for a vacation. As they venture out of Kerala and travel into the slopes and greens, we see her concern vanish even as the slogan, “A Change of Air,” plays. A clever pun on the doctor’s prescription and the changed environment.
“Earlier too, Kerala had an anti-urban sort of perception in the minds of the domestic traveler who saw the state as a green escape.” We complemented that with the positive air imagery, “.Pinheiro
The subsequent part, says Pinheiro, was that they found that a more youthful, more active crowd was starting to visit Kerala and look for new things. “This crowd, we found, enjoyed the journey and not the destination.” For this crowd, the film campaign that flourished was “Travel for Good.”
“We were empowering individuals to get out and travel. The message being that travel is good for you as well as really good for the local communities in the land you come to.”
As Pinheiro brings up, while the international traveler shows up, particularly for seasons, the domestic visitor is an all-year visitor.
As these stories emerged and it became clear that domestic tourism would be the bedrock of revival, Kerala began developing new products geared toward smaller groups who prefer to travel in open spaces. Also, hence, caravan tourism. Caravans were the cynosure of everyone’s eyes at the Kerala Travel Shop, with the motor homes placed strategically at the entrance. There was the extravagant Bharat Benz caravan, with power-managed couches, two double beds, restroom, kitchen, inverter and generator; and more economical camper homes on Isuzu pickup vehicles, which had a room on the top of the vehicle.
The state’s aggressive promotion spree is not surprising. The state government was attempting to raise it to 15%.But two years of the pandemic reduced tourist traffic to a trickle in the state, with unofficial estimates pegging losses at over 35,000 crore. In 2019, the revenue from tourism was over 45,000 crore and plunged to 11,000 crores in 2020.
Two caravan parks are functional in the state, and as per Teja, five more will be ready throughout the next month. “We welcomed registrations for the caravan scheme from tour operators and 259 individuals have shown interest in running more than 400 caravans and 103 have shown interest in constructing caravan parks,” said Teja.
The state’s forceful advancement binge isn’t business as usual. In 2019, the travel industry contributed almost 12% to Kerala’s Gross domestic product and the State government was attempting to build it to 15 percent. However, two years of pandemic reduced traveler traffic to a trickle in the state, with informal estimates putting the loss at more than 35,000 crore. In 2019, the income from the travel industry was over 45,000 crore and plunged to 11,000 crore in 2020.
As per Teja, the method for attracting the domestic traveler is likewise through a full schedule of exciting events, and the state is packed consistently with celebrations and cultural shows. The Champions Boat Race, an IPL-style sporty boat race, is being pushed as a major vacation destination just like the artsy Kochi Biennale.
At the Kerala Travel Mart, which saw frenzied networking, the state’s ministers and bureaucrats — former and current — were found in force, contributing to the sale of God’s Own Country. The previous Kerala Chief Secretary, during a meeting at KTM, drew out the change imperative when he said, “Besides the fact that the initial trends in post-pandemic travel point to a requirement for an altered marketing strategy, the tourism items themselves need to match the perception about destinations.”
One needs to keep a watch out for the new products. In any case, as the event concluded, with 55,000 meetings held among purchasers and venders, a satisfied VR Krishna Teja looked back and said, “The mart has conveyed a message that Kerala is completely prepared.”