Sep 14 2013, 5:34am CDT | by IANS
Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 14 — Kerala Tourism is looking to make further inroads into the Japanese market, and is showcasing "God's own country" - as the state is described in its advertisement tagline - at a travel fair in Tokyo, officials said.
The JATA Travel Showcase 2013 opened in Tokyo Thursday, and will continue until Sunday.
This fair comes at a time of surge in tourist arrivals in the state, on account of enhanced air connectivity and the newly-introduced visa-on-arrival facility at two airports in the state -- one in the capital city and the other in Kochi.
Participating for the first time at JATA Tourism Forum and Travel Showcase 2013, Kerala will attempt to draw attention to its natural beauty and other travel products, including soul-soothing Ayurveda.
The JATA travel show is billed as one of the largest such events in Asia.
In 2012, the state recorded 11,500 tourist arrivals from Japan, a nearly 60 percent growth in five years.
State Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar, who is leading the Kerala contingent to Japan, said that there has been an increasing interest among citizens from Japan for Ayurveda and wellness.
"Being the home of Ayurveda, Kerala is sure to attract visitors from Japan," he said.
Air connectivity between the state and Japan has increased, thanks to flights operated by Silk Air, Air Asia and Tiger Airways. Malaysian Airlines commenced operations to the state from the first week of September this year.
Secretary of Kerala Tourism Suman Billa said the contingent from the state met officials from Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines, who expressed interest in a partnership with the state tourism department.
"We are planning road shows and familiarisation trips for tour operators and travel writers from key cities of Japan as a follow-up initiative," Billa said.
Ambassador of India to Japan Deepa Gopalan Wadhwa held a formal reception for the Kerala contingent. She also visited the Kerala Tourism pavilion and expressed happiness that the state had made a presence at JATA for the first time.
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