Tourism min proposes talks with TN, Karnataka to discuss ‘seamless travel’

Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran urges Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to initiate talks with the Chief Ministers and Transport Ministers of neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to discuss about tourism possibilities. The Tourism minister was talking exclusively to Tourism News Live at a roadshow organized by Kerala Tourism in Italy.

The development of a tourism circuit connecting the three states would be a blessing to the tourism industry, he said. “The major issue the tourism stakeholders point out in going ahead with developing a tourism circuit is the heavy interstate permit charges,” the minister said. Kadakampally also said he had brought this concern before Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and proposed to have a high level meeting with the Chief ministers and Transport ministers of the two states to discuss this issue.

“A joint promotion connecting the tourist destinations would help increase the tourism inflow to all the three states,” he said. Tamil Nadu has been topping the list in recording highest number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) for the past three years.

The tourist arrivals in groups mainly opt to tour South India as a whole rather than limiting the visit to one state. Since the transportation charges for the different states are heavy, it increases the package tariff and thereby puts the entire trip cost higher. For example a visit to Tamil Nadu with the tourists will require only a minimal amount whereas if the guests has to be picked up and dropped in at Tamil Nadu, a vehicle from Kerala will be charged Rs 20,000 for such a single journey. The entry tax for vehicles entering Karnataka was Rs 5000 some 6-7 years back and has been hiked to Rs 45,000 in 2016, which has literally made Karnataka a very expensive place for tourists. In a July 18, 2016 circular, the Kerala government has made it mandatory for Karnataka-registered tourist vehicles with all-India permits to pay the entry tax for the entire year, irrespective of how many trips they make to Kerala annually.

When a group arrives with an aim to visit the South Indian states, they will have to pay a hefty amount by paying permit charges or entry tax to these states. If the respective state government’s take a decision to cut down on the heavy amounts or ensure a seamless travel, it will help the tourism industry at large.

Watch the video interview of Minister Kadakampally here