Kochi Biennale high-value tourism product: Kerala minister

Kochi, March 17 (IANS) The Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) is one of Kerala Tourism’s most outstanding products, said state Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar on Tuesday.

“Kerala has ayurveda, backwaters and beach tourism. And now we have a different product that has made its mark in the world,” he said.

Figures reveal that one of the biggest beneficiaries of the event is Kerala’s tourism industry where in the first month (December) saw a 52 percent rise in domestic tourist arrivals and over eight percent rise in international tourist arrivals to Kerala.

The second edition of the KMB that began on December 12 last year is now on its last phase and ends on March 29.

Experts hold that a biennale is not only about demystifying the contemporary art but also about forging a huge commercial engagement.

Like the famous Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur), it has opened a ‘winter cultural tourism circuit’ in India – Biennale in December, Jaipur Literary Festival in January and India Art Fair in Delhi in February.

Bose Krishnamachari, the KMB ’14 director, said the event has brought a crowd of cultural tourists, comprising young business heads, curators and collectors.

“Earlier, tourists to Kerala came for the backwaters, now they come for the biennale. Many more foreign organisations and embassies want to tie up with it. This edition has also seen a leap in the number of collaterals by British, US, Norwegian, French and Spanish artists. These parallel projects bring national and international tourists to the area. This is money for Kerala,” he said.

Riyas Komu, director of programmes, KMB-14, said KMB’s first edition showcased the works of 89 artists from 23 countries and was seen by nearly 400,000 visitors, and the second showcases works of 94 artists from 30 countries and is expected to close after welcoming nearly 500,000 visitors.

“These numbers by themselves are truly impressive. But when you convert that into economic data, the impact becomes more impressive. The biennale not only contributes greatly to already existing channels of revenue generation but also creates new channels and avenues for economic impact,” he said.

Leading entrepreneur and hotelier Jose Dominic said art shown in the event is on par with what can be seen in Europe and the US.


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