Thiruvananthapuram: The British deputy high commission is all set to open a sub-centre here to give a boost to trade and tourism, says a Kerala official, with tourists from Britain accounting for a fourth of international visitors to the state.

Rani George, the Kerala tourism director, said the sub-centre would start functioning from April. 'This office is basically meant to strengthen trade and tourism activities between Kerala and the UK. It will not handle visa enquiries,' said George.

The new office comes at a time when the tourism department has come out with tentative figures for tourist arrivals for 2011.

'The figures show tourists from the UK constitute one-fourth of all international tourists in our state,' said George.

The number of international tourists went up from 6.50 lakh in 2010 to 7.30 lakh in 2011 and the foreign exchange earned also grew at 11.18 percent, touching Rs.4,221 crore.

There has also been an increase in tourists from France, Germany, the US and Australia.