Kochi, Sep 27 (PTI) The tenth edition of Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) began Thursday with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasising on on safeguarding the ecology of prime destinations and promoting responsible tourism. Also Read - BCCI Not Planning to Cut Virat Kohli and Co. Salaries Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

“The calamity reminds us the need to protect the nature, especially for the growth of tourism in a state where the beauty of nature is the prime attraction,” he said. Also Read - Hardik Pandya Shares New Fitness Video During Quarantine Period Amid Coronavirus Lockdown | WATCH VIDEO

The Chief Minister inaugurated the four-day event that brings entrepreneurs across India and abroad to state’s unique tourism products and services. Also Read - Ajay Devgn Birthday: 11 Famous Dialogues of Actor That Every Movie Buff Knows by Heart

“We are duty-bound to preserve and protect the nature. A place develops itself into a Responsible Tourism centre when the entrepreneurs and the local community join hands,” he said, formally declaring open the September 27-30 festival that comes a month after the state faced its worst deluge and landslides in 94 years.

The KTM ceremony, which began with a colourful cultural evening that focused on Malabar as a core theme, saw the presence of an array of administrators and bureaucrats besides entrepreneurs and top functionaries from the field of travel and tourism.

In his address, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Tourism K J Alphons said the post-flood “resurrection” of Kerala has had no parallels anywhere in the world.

“Kerala is again ready to receive tourists. The state should concentrate on Chinese market as we are getting far less number of tourists from that country,” he added at the Bolgatty Island function which is a prelude to a string of business meets from Friday for three days that also feature four tourism-related seminars by experts.

State Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who presided over the ceremony, said the KTM symbolises Kerala’s resilience and the spirit of harmony and togetherness of the state’s people.

“I thank the tourism trade across the world for standing with us and for being a beacon of hope in our darkest hour,” he noted.

KTM-2018 features 1,600 buyers, one-third of them from 66 foreign countries.

Industrialist M A Yusuf Ali was the chief guest of honour.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.