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Pact to bring chartered tourists from Ukraine (the hindu )

Kerala Tourism on Wednesday signed an agreement with a Kochi-based prominent tour operator handling chartered tourists from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to operate chartered flights from Ukraine to God’s Own Country.

The agreement was signed by Director of Kerala Tourism U.V. Jose and Managing Director of the Concorde Exotica Voyager James Kodianthara at the Secretariat here in the presence of Minister for Tourism Kadakampally Surendran.

EoI invited

The tour operator was selected by Kerala Tourism on the basis of the response to expression of interest (EoI) floated by it. Under this, seats will be earmarked for the chartered tourists in regular flights from January to May this year in the Ukraine-Kerala sector.

First phase

The selected tour company will take care of the travel, accommodation and travel in the State. In the first phase, the authorities expect 500 chartered tourists to reach here.

The Tourism Minister said Kerala Tourism would come up with a special scheme to attract holidayers from Ukraine, an emerging market for Kerala. The step to rope in chartered tourists is the first step towards doubling the foreign tourists to the State in the next five years, Mr. Surendran said.

The ultimate goal is to bring direct flights from Ukraine to the State and revive charter operations.

Funds sanctioned

The government has allocated Rs. 3.5 crore for the operation of chartered flights.

Of the amount, Rs. 2 crore is for marketing campaigns in target countries, and the remaining for 30 per cent guarantee to be given to the operators for unfilled seats.

The department has restricted the guarantee to be given to the charter operator to 20 per cent.

A tourism official said the tour operator is already operating daily flight from CIS countries to Goa and was the first to bring charter flights from Russia to the State.

The promotion of the destination in Ukraine has commenced and the attempt is to yield positive results this season itself, he said.

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