In his inaugural address at the three-day Kerala Travel Mart (KTM), Chandy said, "We are giving full support to the tourism industry and we know the importance of the sector. But we have our own limitations on the excise policy".

The state government would continue to support the sector wholeheartedly and in a pro-active manner, Chandy said, adding that tourism fetched about Rs 23,000 crore in the last fiscal.

Tourism Minister Anil Kumar said focus would now be laid on promoting Kerala as a wedding destination.

Over 1,500 tour operators from various countries are participating in the event, which is being organized at the Cochin Port Trust convention centre in the nearby Wellington Island.

There has been an overwhelming response to the mart with 282 international and 938 domestic buyers participating in the event.

Argentina, Australia, the Scandinavian countries and Brazil are some of the new markets being explored at the mart, while UK, Spain, Germany, France and Russia top the list with around 25-30 buyers from each country.

Hotels and resorts, tour operators, home stays, house boat operators, ayurveda resorts, hotel management consultants form the major chunk of exhibitors along with other service providers like adventure-tour operators, amusement parks, convention centers, private museums and specialty hospitals.

Seminars on 'Responsible Tourism', 'Kerala-The Way Ahead', Muziris and Tourism are among the events which have been planned during KTM, which will be a platform for B2B networking.

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