Grand Kerala Shopping Festival begins
Launched in 2007, the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) is an annual project of the Department of Tourism, organised in association with the departments of Industries and Commerce, Finance and Local Self Government with an objective of developing Kerala as a shopping destination.
The event is conducted with the support of the state's trade and commerce sector. It is the second biggest shopping season in Kerala after Onam.
The festival has South Indian Bank as its title sponsor for the sixth season which will begin today and conclude on January 31, 2013.
Participating merchant establishments form the backbone of the festival by uniting under the GKSF umbrella to turn Kerala into 'one single shopping mall' for the entire season.
The renewed efforts launched this year to rope in more outlets into GKSF this year have paid off well. In premium-paid Gold and Silver categories the total number of registrations has already surpassed last season's figures.
With general category registrations now open, more outlets, particularly retail establishments and business in smaller towns are expected to join up.
One of the notable achievements for GKSF this season is the introduction of online registration facility. With on-field support from Akshaya IT centres statewide and from South Indian Bank's network of branches, GKSF has been able to fulfill its goal of reaching out to shops and outlets even in small towns. Being primarily a tourism-targeted event, GKSF's focus this time was to bring in more tourism and allied business into the festival. Homestays and houseboat services signed up for the first time and a large number of tour operators have been taking advantage of the visibility and promotion that the event provides.
Jewelries, textile businesses and electronic appliances stores that have traditionally enjoyed excellent businesses during GKSF season continue to dominate the registration categories this time too.
GKSF is also printing a directory of participating businesses that will be distributed widely to tourist information centres, public libraries, bus/railway stations and other gateway points. GKSF recognises technology as a very valuable tool for organising an event of this scale and to keep pace with changing consumer preferences. The logistical support system for the event is now fully networked and managed online. GKSF has set up offices in each of the 14 districts of the state to co-ordinate the distribution of coupons, gifts and other festival-related items to participating merchant establishments. Connected to these main hubs are multiple distribution centres spread around the district from where retailers can easily collect the material they require.
A total of 90 such centres have been established state-wide, besides the 14 district offices. Training has already been given to 104 hub managers who will be overseeing the operations of these centres.