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Posted on Nov 26, 10:20PM | UNI
Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi today flagged off the campaign vehicle of the 6th Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) that would tour eight cities across the country to publicise the 48-day fiesta.
Present at the flag-off were Union Ministers K V Thomas, Kodikunnil Suresh and Shashi Tharoor besides Parliament Members P C Chacko, K P Dhanapalan, Anto Antony, Peethambara Kurup and P T Thomas.
Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar, addressing a press conference, said the campaign was aimed at popularising the event outside the state. At present, 9.3 million tourists visit the state but spend less than five per cent on shopping.
'We could easily increase this spending by ten to 15 per cent more through such shopping festivals,' he pointed out.
For the first time, the festival that opens on December 15 and runs till January 31, 2013, would feature a global village covering more than 30 acres at Lulu Convention Centre premises in Bolgatty island, Kochi, he said.
The village, open to public for 15 days from December 22, will have international participation too, besides showcasing products from various Indian states. Among countries who have confirmed participation were Thailand and Malaysia, the Minister said.
Indian states that have confirmed participation are Maharashtra, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.
The campaign vehicle will tour major cities including Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Indore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore before concluding the journey in Kannur.
The shopping festival will be conducted by Kerala Tourism department in association with the Industries and Commerce, Finance and Local Self Government departments. The South Indian Bank is the title sponsor for the 6th season of the festival.
GKSF Director U V Jose said the annual fest, held under the aegis of the government in collaboration with trade bodies, is the only one of its kind in the country to evolve a new marketing season at such a scale.
It is now billed as the biggest fiesta of its kind in Asia that aims to transform entire Kerala into one single shopping mall.
Despite being busy during the peak tourist season, the hospitality sector has also pitched in a big way to make the event a success, he said. The response from restaurants has been encouraging, he added.
The fiesta will woo visitors with a number of high-value gifts, scratch and win prizes offering gold, sponsored vouchers, daily prizes through SMS and weekly draws.
They will get a chance to buy intricately designed gold jewellery, handloom textiles, coir products, indigenous wood and metal handicrafts, genuine Ayurvedic products and exquisite tribal artefacts.