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Prince Charles visit to boost Kerala tourism

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The four-day official visit to Kerala by Prince Charles and his entourage is expected to give a fillip to tourism, said AP Anilkumar, State Tourism Minister here on Thursday.

He said the decision of Prince Charles to choose Kerala for celebrating his birthday is significant as the state, a top tourist destination in the world, receives the biggest number of arrivals from Britain. “It is a matter of honour for Kerala that the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall chose the state to celebrate his 65th birthday,” said Anilkumar here.

“We are truly delighted that the royal couple enjoyed their stay in our state and experienced the many facets of the serene beauty and diverse cultural life of Kerala,” added the minister.

Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, who arrived on November 11 in Kerala, are on nine-day visit to India. They had a taste of Kerala’s abundant natural beauty and rich cultural heritage during their four-day stay.

Their visit ended Thursday, the day Prince Charles celebrated his 65th birthday. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his family arrived at the tourist destination, Kumarakom, to wish him happy birthday. The royal couple will leave from Kochi for Colombo later in the day.

“The visit by the British royal couple will leave a lasting effect on the state’s ever growing international reputation among both domestic and international travellers,” said Kerala Tourism director S Harikishore.

Britain is Kerala’s biggest tourism market outside India, accounting for nearly 150,000 arrivals last year. British travellers form a sizeable chunk, who repeat their visits to the state.

Recently, travel guides publisher Lonely Planet named Kerala among the world’s 10 best destinations for taking the family on a holiday in 2014.