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Kerala : A special delight Kerala offers is the trip on a slow boat through its forests and its palm shaded back-waters and canals,
Today, with 25 million people, Kerala is not only one of the most densely populated of all Indian states, but also the most advanced in 
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Kerala News
Shopping festival to attract more tourist inflow 
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The organisers of the government-sponsored Grand Kerala Shopping Festival are expecting a large number of foreign tourists to visit the State during the period of the festival from December 1, 2008 to January 15, 2009.

In a press release here on Saturday, they said a major share of the hits received on the official website of the Shopping Festival was from outside the country. 

Inquiries are pouring in on the State’s traditional products, handloom products and jewellery. 

The hits the website has received so far since the event was announced this time exceed seven times the number of people who had visited it during last year’s Shopping Festival, the press release said.

The organisers said that they were using all the possibilities of information technology to ensure transparent conduct of the festival. 

There is online registration facility for the traders, merchants and organisations wishing to be part of this festival, in addition to the direct registration facility offered through authorised agencies and District Industries Centres. 

The website provides up-to-date status of the registrations done. 

A call-centre is open round-the-clock at the telephone number 0484-6461010 to attend to complaints.

Inquiries received from other countries relate to the availability of Aranmula mirror, places where Kerala’s handloom products are made and sold, the markets of the State’s famed spices, tourism destinations, peculiarities of gold ornaments made in the State etc., the organisers said.

The organisers have requested the shops registered for the festival to send their logo and a description of their establishments in English to the e-mail address as early as possible. 

This is to respond to the inquiries being received through the official website of the festival, the press release said. 

Kerala shopping festival
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The second edition of the Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF), the state government’s initiative to blend its successful tourism industry with shopping, will start on December 1.

Nearly 60 sovereigns of gold will be distributed as prizes during the one-and-a-half-month-long festival.

Besides online registration, the participants have an option to register through SMS as well this time.

Planned during the peak of tourist season in Kerala, the GKSF will promote local traditional products such as marine products, decorative items, handicrafts, consumer durables, jewellery, textiles, resorts and ayurveda centres.

Of the total Rs200mn earmarked in the budget for the festival, Rs50mn will be spent on renovating the Chalai market in Thiruvananthapuram, Broadway and Mattancherry markets in Ernakulam and Mittayi Theruvu (SM Street) in Kozhikode, all being preserved as heritage sites.
The 14 districts have been divided into three zones and the number of prizes has been increased to attract more participants, according to an official statement. Draws will be held every week in these zones and 25 gold sovereigns each will be distributed as first prize.

The second prize will be two gold sovereigns each for three winners. The third prize of one gold sovereign each will be given to 100 customers.
In addition to these prizes, there will be mega prizes. The first prize is 1kg of gold. The second prize of 500gm gold will be given to nine people.
Retailers too are eligible for prizes. The first prize is 1kg gold and second prize is 500gm gold.

With attractive tax holidays, the government also hopes to woo over NRIs.
“Besides the high-quality merchandise, tourism brand value and human resources strengths inherent to Kerala, there is tremendous scope for the development in the trade and commerce sector. The endeavour of the state to become a commercial trade hub will be highly beneficial and attract more opportunities with the government support,” the organisers said.

The participation in the festival is open to all retail and wholesale outlets, manufacturers and hospitality establishments in the state.

The registration for the festival will be in three phases. Participants can register as a gold partner paying Rs25,000, silver partner for Rs5,000 besides the general category, which carries a Rs1,000 fee.

The gold partner will get 350 free coupons and the silver partner 50 free coupons. Retailers can buy additional coupons during the festival period by paying Rs15 each. 


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