Kerala needs to penetrate North East Asian markets: UNWTO regional director

The future of Kerala Tourism depends on how successfully it can penetrate into the emerging source markets in North East Asia including China, Japan and Korea, said United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) Asia/Pacific regional director Xu Jing.

Though Kerala Tourism has a strong presence in the Middle East and European markets, little is known about this piece of land in  Asian countries. “The major challenge is to diversify your source markets, and when you do that it’s not just about making a policy shift but also a product shift,” said Jing.

He also said that its unbelievable why Kerala is not flooded with Asian tourists, the people from oriental Asia. “I have already spoken to Kerala tourism secretary and the director here on conducting some technical seminar to provide information and to chalk out strategies to penetrate these emerging Asian markets,” he added.

“Asian people may not spend their time in a bar sipping a beer. They might be very much into other activities the Europeans might never even think of. The Asian are more active, taking photos and posing for selfies. They finish their meals in half an hour and are always on the run. So you need to fit into their requirements,” Jing pointed out.

Jing, who is very impressed by the Kerala cuisine said everything linked to gastronomy will be one of the attractions to any Chinese traveller besides Ayurveda.

“We need to enrich the activities for tourists in the evenings. And these activities should be linked to cultural performances, showcasing your heritage. There are many places where monuments are opened during evenings. These evenings should also be linked with gastronomy. It’s about how you entertain tourists in the evenings. We need to respect the local society and should think of enriching evenings with activities based on the particular culture,” he told TOI.