Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Friday the digital technology has opened up vast global markets for start-up businesses in the travel and tourism sector, and that young entrepreneurs need to take advantage of it.
"A small home-based business in Kerala can now market itself like big hotel chains to target customers in London or Sydney. In Kerala, we have a lot of entrepreneurs in the tourism sector and I'm sure technology will give them wings," Chandy said while inaugurating India's first International Conference on Travel Technology (ICTT) in Thiruvananthapuram.
ICTT is being organised by the Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India (ATTOI) in collaboration with Kerala Tourism.
The three-day event will see travel industry experts from countries like the US, UK, Australia, UAE and India speaking on topics like social media, online marketing, mobile applications, pricing and distribution strategies for the sector.
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor, who delivered the keynote address, said one of the most important usages of the internet for tourism businesses is reviewing the customer feedback which is increasingly influencing travellers' decisions.
"The real danger from the web is that it is an unmediated platform. Opinions can easily be doctored or manufactured. The best way to counter fake reviews is to put out correct information. Alert hoteliers and destination managers must come up with quick responses," he said.
Kerala's Minister for Tourism AP Anil Kumar said the state government was among the pioneers in marketing tourism through the internet.
"IT (Information Technology) has not only complemented our promotional activities, but has also helped reduce expenditure and significantly lowered our consumption of print products," Kumar said.