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Posted on Nov 26, 06:22PM | IANS
Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi Monday flagged off a unique roadshow to woo tourists for the forthcoming Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) beginning Dec 15.
The GKSF is being held to promote Kerala as an international shopping destination. State government officials said the road-show was planned to make GKSF popular with both the foreign and domestic tourists.
"Happening during our peak tourism season, the GKSF will aim to tap the purchasing capacity of the tourists flocking to the State," Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar said on the sidelines of the flagging-off ceremony here.
"The average tourism spending in Kerala is currently five percent. Our target is to push this to 10-15 per cent by positioning GKSF in a bigger way. The government is giving 100 percent value added tax (VAT) refund to the outside travellers," he added.
The colourful promotional campaign, which will travel to eight major cities in the run-up to the mega fiesta and will have stopovers at Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore before culminating at Kannur.
The Kerala tourism department said to attract tourists to the shopping festival it will award mega lucky draw prizes in which gold worth one kg for one winner and half a kg of gold each for two others.
Apart from this, gifts worth Rs.1,000,000 will be given to five lucky draw winners.
"Gifts and vouchers are just one of the few attractions. One hundred percent value added tax (VAT) refund to the visitors from outside the state is another great pull for the event," said U.V. Jose, director, GKSF.
Another highlight of the sixth GKSF will be a 'Global Village' which will house stalls from the participating nations to showcase their cultures, traditions and crafts.
The village will come up over 30 acres of land in Bolgatty Island, off the coast of Kerala's commercial capital Kochi.
"One of the highlights of GKSF Season 6, that will continue till January 31, 2013, is a majestic Global Village. Countries like Thailand, China, UAE and Malaysia have already confirmed the participation. We are in talk with more countries," Kumar said.
"The participating nations will have their space of their own to showcase their cultures, traditions and crafts. States like West Bengal, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have confirmed. We are also trying to rope in more States," he added.
The annual fest, held under the aegis of the government in collaboration with trade associations, will run till Jan 31, 2013.
The shopping festival will offer visitors a chance to buy a plethora of souvenirs, gold jewellery, handloom textiles, coir products, handicraft, ayurvedic products and tribal artefacts.
The state's tourism department has also roped in houseboats, homestays, travel operators and other stakeholders to the venture.