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HindustanTimes Sat,01 Nov 2014

It is 'election tourism' season in Kerala

PTI  Thiruvananthapuram, March 23, 2014
First Published: 18:45 IST(23/3/2014) | Last Updated: 08:28 IST(24/3/2014)

With election fever gripping Kerala, tour operators are trying to lure holidayers by promising them a feel of the battle of ballot in the politically hyperactive state.

Some have launched special packages for foreign tourists to enable them get a closer view of the vibrant election scene, along with its panoramic locations already reputed for their charm the world over.

They believe that the total ambience of the election season with villages and towns afloat with colourful posters and banners, squads of grassroot workers moving in door-to-door canvassing, marches and street corner meetings, will certainly be a novel experience for foreign visitors.

Mass participation in elections, approachability of candidates and politicial sensitivity of commoners could be of interest to foreign holidayers, tour operators said.

Tomi Pulikkattil, an Alappuzha-based tour operator, said foreigners are keen to know about the election procedure in India and like to watch live camapigns and rallies.

"The concept of poll tourism is actually our brainchild. The curiosity shown by tourists in our elections has actually made us think about working out an innovative package," he told PTI.

He has listed "poll tourism" in the website of his firm along with other services like 'monsoon mantra', 'vanitha house boat' and 'ayurvedic house boat'.

"Our customers will get a chance to have a close look at electioneering in Alappuzha, the hub of Kerala's water tourism, through houseboat cruise," he said.

Around 65 tourists from various countries like US, France, Germany and England had availed of the package when it was first introduced in 2004 general elections.

A group of 15 German tourists were taken around Alappuza and Varkala during the 2009 elections, he said.

Tomi said his group had already communicated to their counterparts abroad about this year's 'poll tourism package'.

The itinerary would be worked out on getting their replies.

Many local and national tour operators are also coming upwith similar packages, which offer customers many interesting features, ranging from taking tourists to hot campaign spots to introducing them to key contestants.


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