Minister Mohamed Riyas inaugurates virtual travel guide at Fort Kochi.Kochi, June 6: Kerala Tourism Minister Shri PA Mohamed Riyas today launched a virtual travel guide that gives access to all information on tourism locations through QR Code for visitors to the state. The new digital tool will provide all relevant information such as distance to the nearest bus-stand, railway station and airport, working hours of a tourist destination and its contact numbers, the Minister said after inaugurating the facility in Fort Kochi. The e-brochure, will be set up across the state's tourism centres and important airports within and outside the country. More content will be brought in the e-brochure including information on places of tourism potential which are now not widely known. More such technology-driven facilities will be popularised in tourism sector in the coming months to ensure hassle-free travel for tourists, Shri Riyas revealed. The e-brochure also ensures that a single click opens to pertinent social-media pages. The virtual guide will also facilitate information regarding tour packages and their bookings. Holding that proper upkeep of tourism centres is important, the Minister said tourism clubs will be formed in colleges across the state to involve the youth in the maintenance and publicity of local travel destinations. The government will issue a notification to this effect after consultations tomorrow (Tuesday) with the Higher Education Minister, he said. “The state’s tourism destinations require regular maintenance if they need to be of international standards. Considering this, we have decided to set up tourism clubs in colleges. The project will also rope in cooperation from the Kerala State Youth Welfare Board. Each such club will be given charge of the maintenance of a particular tourism centre in the vicinity, besides giving publicity to its chief features and new products. This will also help students find job opportunities along with their studies,” Shri Riyas said. By this year-end, Fort Kochi, which is Kerala’s foremost tourist destination, will get washroom facilities of global excellence, he added. The government has allotted Rs 2.5 crore to give the PWD Rest-house in Fort Kochi a facelift. Also, homestays will no longer require no-objection certificate from the local self-government institutions, considering their vitality in the hospitality industry, the Minister informed. Even amid waves of the global pandemic, Kerala recorded 75 lakh tourists in the last (2021-22) financial year. The release of the e-brochure which carries the travel attractions of age-old cosmopolitan Fort Kochi comes as a first step towards this novel project of the state government. Easy to operate, the tool will facilitate zoom-in of pages and works even on auto mode. It provides a highlight of tourist destinations, along with short videos and high-resolution pictures. To recall necessary points, the software permits download of pages. Fort Kochi MLA Shri K.J. Maxi, presiding over the function in Greenix Village, said “This tool will help a tourist without relying on anybody for primary information.” Kerala Tourism Director Shri V.R. Krishna Teja, while welcoming the gathering, said the e-guide is another milestone in the Chief Minister’s mission to revive tourism. He recalled a recent meeting of various stakeholders to strengthen tourism in Fort Kochi, discussing endeavours that merited implementation on a priority basis. The other speakers were Kochi Mayor Shri M. Anilkumar, Ernakulam Collector Shri Jafar Malik, Sub-Collector (Fort Kochi) Shri Vishnuraj P., Ward Councillors Shri T.K. Ashraf and Antony Kureethra, Shri Ismuddin P.M. and Shri A. Manaf. Kerala Tourism Deputy Director (Marketing) Shri Rajeev G.L. proposed the vote of thanks.