Shri Kadakampalli Surendran, Hon'ble Minster for Tourism,

Shri V.S. Sivakumar, Member of Legislative Assembly,

Smt. Rani George IAS, Secretary, Kerala Tourism,

Shri M. Vijayakumar, Chairman, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation,

Mr. Guk Hwang, Deputy Director, Regional Department for Asia and the Pacific, UNWTO,

Dr. Rajashree Ajith, Director, Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies [KITTS],

Smt. Vidya Mohan, Ward Councilor,

Shri E.M. Najeeb, Member, National Tourism Advisory Council,

Shri Baby Mathew, President, Kerala Travel Mart Society,

Dr. B. Rajendran, Principal, KITTS,

Dear Delegates,

प्रिय विधार्थिकले, अधयापकरे [Priya Vidyaarthikale, Adhyapakare],

प्रियसहोदरीसहोदरनमारे[Priya Sahodaree Sahodaranmare],

ल्लारकुमएन्टेनमस्कारम.[Ellavarkkum Ente Namaskaram].



It gives me great joy to inaugurate this International Conference on Global Trends in Tourism Studiesorganized by Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies [KITTS], an autonomous institution under the Government of Kerala.

Let me at the outset, convey my appreciation for the efforts taken by KITTSin organizing this Seminar which echoes the global theme, Tourism : A Better Future For All.

Ever since its inception in 1988, Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS)has been imparting quality education and training in Travel and Tourism, thereby effectively addressing the manpower requirements of the tourism industry. As an Affiliate Member of United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)since 2012, it had implemented Responsible Tourism (RT) in Kerala for five years and enabled the State to win the prestigious Ulysses Award in Public Policyand Governance for Kumarakom in 2013.

With four centres across the State and ensuring hundred percent placement, this 30 year old institute has been networking with global agencies to offer consultancy in skill development for our tourism initiatives. This seminar, held in the Pearl Jubilee year of KITTS, is an attempt of this institute to attune itself to the changing trends in skill requirements in the tourism industry.

Though there are many smaller nations which attract more tourists than us, Tourism has been fast developing as n industry in India. Its current contribution to the Gross Domestic Product is known to be over nine percent. As we continue to tap the true potential of Tourism, this share will certainly increase. I understand that some global reports have ranked India 34th in Tourism among 140 countries.
It may not look very impressive, but we can certainly be proud of the steady improvement registered by our nation in Tourism in the recent years.

Any discussion on the global trends in tourism has to be firmly rooted on the Indian concept of tourism, which sees the Guest as God. The Upanishads place the Guest at par with the Mother, Father and the Aachaarya.  Kerala's success in tourism was scripted by a combination of Nature's bounty, cultural wealth and above all, the people's readiness to share with the world, the beauty of the land's heritage. It was this attitude to tourism which made the world proclaim :

एन्टेकेरलम एत्रसुन्दरम ![Ente Keralam Ethra Sundaram !]




Tourism has the potential to drive Kerala’s economy forward by gaining global attention.  I was happy to know that Kerala Tourism has registered a very strong global presence on the social media. After the set back suffered due to natural calamities in the last one year, we are now on the path of rebuilding our Tourism industry.

Kerala must go with the global trend of Rebuilding of Destinations through Destination Management Organizations, which will be active throughout the year. From the pattern of the disasters we have suffered, it is clear that rebuilding has to start by revitalizing the areas in the Western Ghats, which is a major determinant of Tourism in our State. And, this   rebuilding has to be through the use of the state of the art technology.

As one who greatly cherishes the rich variety in the traditional Kerala Sadya, I feel that the Global Trend of Organic Culinary tourism has a place in our initiatives. All over the world, tourism trends are driven by the demand for excellent cuisine which promises delicious food as well as better nutrition. We could benefit from the organic food movement, which is affecting the global tourism trends. I am glad that Gastronomy Tourism finds a place in the discussions in this Seminar.

Our endeavors in Responsible Tourism and Sustainable Tourism have attained moderate success. In fact, over the last one decade, we have opened many avenues like Wellness tourism, Pilgrimage circuits, Backwater Tourism, Eco and Adventure Tourism and so on.

But, the success of any venture in Tourism depends on how well we utilize the advanced global trends in Safety and Security. We have to take extra care to see that crimes, including drug trafficking and terrorism, do not hamper our efforts to ensure safe destinations for tourists. A safety induced Customer monitoring system could also be devised.

Equally important is the global trend of Accessible Tourism, which ensures barrier free destinations for tourists so that all people could enjoy tourism experiences. Since this seminar plans to discuss the use of Technology in Tourism,
I would also suggest some adaptive measures in trends like Virtual Guiding through Mobile applications, the use of interactive robots, Recognition technology in smart hotels etc.


Kerala, which has made enviable progress in the use of digital technology and artificial intelligence could show some innovative models in the use of modern technology in providing tourism services. Equally important for the industry is ensuring ease of doing business in tourism, especially at the small and medium level.

I am sure that creative exchanges and interactions between the academia and the industry would go a long way in helping our tourism sector to reset its priorities and in guiding the professionals to update their skills in tune with the global trends. I hope this seminar would be rich in practical recommendations for the industry as well as the students and researchers of Tourism studies.


I also wish that the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies would conduct research into the social and cultural implications of our Tourism initiatives.

I compliment the students, teachers and staff of Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies for organizing this function in a befitting manner.

My best wishes to all the delegates and participants of this Seminar.


लोका: समस्ता: सुखिनो भवन्तु

[Lokah: Samasta: Sukhino Bhavantu]


Jai Hind