New Delhi, Nov 23 (IANS) The Kerala government is organising the sixth Grand Kerala Shopping Festival (GKSF) from Dec 15, to promote the state as an international shopping destination.
"Through GKSF, we are trying to pitch the state as an international shopping destination, broaching a new idea on the marketing front," said Tourism Minister A.P. Anil Kumar.
According to the minister, the government is looking to promote shopping tourism at the time when the state attracts maximum number of tourists.
"Shopping tourism is going to be the next big thing as we have a strong marketing infrastructure and platform, coupled with the global image," he said.
"It coincides with our peak tourism season and Sabarimala pilgrimage."
The Kerala tourism department said to attract tourists to the shopping festival it will award mega lucky draw prizes in which gold worth one kg for one winner and half a kg of gold each for two others.
Apart from this, gifts worth Rs.1000,000 will be given to five lucky draw winners.
"Gifts and vouchers are just one of the few attractions. 100 percent value added tax (VAT) refund to the visitors from outside the state is another great pull for the event," U.V. Jose, director, GKSF.
Another highlight of the sixth GKSF will be a 'Global Village' which will house stalls from the participating nations to showcase their cultures, traditions and crafts.
The village will come up over 30 acres of land in Bolgatty Island, off the coast of Kerala's commercial capital Kochi.
The annual fest, held under the aegis of the government in collaboration with trade associations and will run till Jan 31, 2013.
The shopping festival will offer visitors a chance to buy a plethora of souvenirs, gold jewellery, handloom textiles, coir products, handicraft, ayurvedic products and tribal artifacts.
The state's tourism department has also roped in houseboats, homestays, travel operators and other stakeholders to the venture.