Published January 19th, 2006 - 12:16 GMT

The start of Emirates’ eight-flights-per-week service between Dubai and Thiruvananthapuram from 1st February will provide a major boost to the economic development of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city of the state of Kerala.

Thiruvananthapuram and in general Kerala’s key industries, including Leisure and Medical Tourism, and Information Technology (IT) are expected to benefit as the Dubai-based airline connects the state with a vast network of destinations in the Middle East.

Mr. M. R. Nararyanan, President Chamber of Commerce Thiruvananthapuram, said: “The commencement of air transport links between Thiruvananthapuram and Dubai is a welcome move. Through Emirates’ services our business, IT, tourism and air freight industries will have access to new markets and greater opportunities.”

Tourism inflows are expected to increase as the Emirates service opens up Thiruvananthapuram to the affluent Middle East traveller. Currently the city is visited by 0.9 million tourists per year with a growth rate of 5.5 per cent per annum.

Emirates’140 efficient, reliable and superior service flights per week from 13 destinations in the Middle East will provide access to scores of potential Middle East travellers keen on exploring Thiruvananthapuram’s beach resorts, famous backwaters and its neighbouring hill stations and world heritage sites.

Emirates will also support the Government of Kerala in its efforts to make the state a major health tourism destination. Kerala, one of National Geographic Magazine’s ‘50 must-see destinations’ is also home to the world-famous Ayurveda - natural healthcare treatments. With timely and efficient connections between the Middle East and Kerala, leisure travellers are encouraged to sample the latter’s excellent Ayurveda treatments like Pankajakasturi, Santhigiri and Panchakarma.

Mainline medical treatments have also attracted high-end tourists from the Middle East owing to the low cost of such treatments coupled with the use of state-of-the-art technology. Current estimates indicate that foreigners account for about 12 per cent of all patients in India’s leading hospitals. Thiruvananthapuram boasts of high class Multi-Specialty Hospitals like Kerala Institute of Medical Sciences, Gokulum Hospital and Regional Cancer Centre.

Mr. V. K. Mathews, Chairman International Business Solutions (IBS), Technopark, said: “We are eagerly awaiting the start of Emirates services from 1st February. I believe Thiruvananthapuram’s growing IT industry can take advantage of Emirates’ 13-destination network in the Middle East to find new markets for their local products and services.”

Technopark in Thiruvananthapuram, India’s first IT park is on the road to become Asia’s biggest IT park with over 100,000 software professionals. Technopark currently houses India’s IT giants Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

Mr. Mathews added: “Emirates’ air transport links to Thiruvananthapuram will render it an attractive destination for international IT companies considering setting up offices in South India.”

The Dubai-based airline will also facilitate travel for Kerala’s burgeoning Non-resident Indian (NRI) community. Currently estimated to be approximately 1.5 million, a majority of the state’s NRIs reside in the Middle East and 41 per cent of them travel home each year.


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