Kerala Tourism to hold first-ever road show in Saudi Arabia
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Tourism is holding its first-ever road show in Saudi Arabia from Sunday in a bid to attract more tourists from the Gulf kingdom to the state, an official statement said Friday.
"Saudi Arabia is the biggest market for outbound tourists in the Gulf region. We want to invite travellers from Saudi Arabia to Kerala," said state Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar in the statement here.
The first road show would be held in Jeddah on Sunday followed by Riyadh and Dammam on the following days.
"Kerala and the Gulf countries have enjoyed historical and traditional ties. Kerala is a natural destination for tourists from the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia," added the minister, who will be present during the three-day programme.
According to figures, the Gulf region recorded more than nine million outbound tourists in 2011 and the figure is likely to touch 35 million by 2020.
Saudi Arabia accounts for 40 percent of these outbound tourists and India is among the major destinations sought after by the Arab tourists, besides Britain, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Philippines.
"We are looking forward to a spurt in foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala in the coming years. Saudi Arabia is a very important market for us because there is a lot of scope for Arab tourists to come to Kerala," said Kerala Tourism Secretary Manoj Kumar.
Around 50 local tour operators are expected to participate in the roadshows in each of the three Saudi Arabian cities, while the Kerala delegation led by the minister includes 15 tourism service providers from the state.
"Kerala currently gets a lot of tourists from the Gulf countries,including Saudi Arabia. We are certain that tourists from Saudi Arabia would love to enjoy the rich greenery and natural attractions of Kerala like the majestic backwaters, beautiful beaches and the tranquil hills,"said Kerala Tourism director Rani George.
Studies have shown that Saudi Arabian tourists are the highest spending travellers abroad from the Gulf region with nearly half of the country's population in the higher income bracket.
Tourists from Saudi Arabia look for holidays in the harsh summer (June to September) in their country when temperatures soar. That also happens to be the time Kerala's monsoon tourism begins.
Saudi Arabia's proximity to Kerala -- a four-hour flight, and good air-connectivity are the other factors in favour of the state.