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Kerala’s short-term liquor licences likely to get cheaper


The aim is to revive the MICE segment, badly affected with the liquor prohibition being phased in.

Kerala plans to issue short-term liquor licence to hotels conducting meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) in an attempt to resuscitate this segment of tourism business which has been hit by the liquor ban in the state.

Currently, only five-star hotels in the state can serve liquor while hotels in other categories can get a one-time liquor licence but at a high cost. “MICE needs a transparent liquor policy and the recent policy announcements have had some impact on this business. Soon a new directive will come, which will allow hotels conducting MICE events to avail themselves of short-term liquor licence and that too at an affordable price,” said Nandakumar KP, deputy director, Kerala Tourism.

According to the industry, a more liberal policy is needed since neighbouring countries like Sri Lanka com-pete with Kerala for the MICE segment. Nandakumar said the tourism department has already initiated discussions with the government.

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With the state assembly elections slated to be held in a few months, the new directive is expected to come up once the new government takes charge. “We are hoping it comes up before the next tourist season,” he said.

MICE contributes 25-30% to the state’s tourism revenue and the tourism department plans to increase the share to 50% in the coming years. Nandakumar said the state is targeting new overseas markets such as Russia, China, Japan and East Asia along with Tier 2 % 3 cities in the country, showcasing Kerala as a wedding and MICE destination.

“We are also planning to launch a cruise tourism project which can connect Kerala, Maldives and Sri Lanka. We are already negotiating with international cruise ships,” Nandakumar said.

The project will be done under the public-private partnership model, he said. The cruise project is expected to commence within a year.

During January-October 2015, Kerala received more than 7.75 lakh international tourists, 6.6% more than that a year ago. The state saw 7.4% growth in domestic tourist arrivals at 76.71 lakh between January and August 2015 over that a year ago. This year the tourism department is targeting more than 10 % growth in overall tourist arrivals.

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