Loka Pookkalam (Global Pookkalam) competition will be an annual event after its first edition this year became a tremendous success, said Tourism Minister Mr. P. A. Mohamed Riyas. The minister was speaking while giving away prizes to the winners of the floral carpet contest organized by Kerala Tourism during the Onam festival in August 2021.
It is for the first time that people across the globe came together virtually to celebrate Onam. Through the contest, Keralites living abroad have become brand ambassadors of the state, the minister said.
Technology came to the aid when it was decided that Onam celebration has to be conducted amid the pandemic. Kerala Tourism will come up with similar initiatives to connect people across the globe, Mr. Riyas said.
Playback singer Mr. M. G. Sreekumar, who was the chief guest at the function, lauded the novel initiatives taken by the Tourism Minister for the post-pandemic revival of tourism. “As a global traveller, I have seen countries, which have created facilities in tourism sector despite lacking ample resources. But Kerala is abundant with resources and if we can utilize them properly, the state can secure a prominent spot on the global tourism map,” he said.
Kerala Tourism Director Mr. V. R. Krishna Teja thanked those who worked hard to make the contest a big success with their active participation. Mr. Biju. B.S, Deputy Director, Tourism; Mr. K. Varadarajan, former Vice-Chairman, NORKA; and Mr. Rajeev G. L, Deputy Director, Marketing, Tourism, were among those present.
The Loka Pookkalam contest was organized by Kerala Tourism with an aim to bring together Malayalis across the globe on one platform. The online contest was divided into two categories - one for people residing in Kerala and the other for those outside the state. Each category was again divided into two - Individuals and Institutions.
The contest received a warm response from those who love God’s Own Country. There were around 1,331 entries for the contest this year, and more than 25,000 people participated in it, the Tourism Minister said.
The entries were screened by a judging panel consisting of Mr. Shijo Jacob, Professor at the College of Fine Arts Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram; Mr. Johny M. L., writer, poet and art curator; and Ms. Neethu Babu, Senior User Experience Designer at IBS, Technopark. There were a total of 52 winners, including consolation prize winners, across four categories. The top three in each category won a free two-night stay at a premium KTDC property. The consolation prize winners got discount coupons for 30% that can be redeemed at KTDC hotels and resorts. Besides that, all the participants got a one-time discount of 10% on food and accommodation at any of the KTDC properties.
Pradeep Kumar M (Kozhikode) and Martin Jose (Delhi) came first in the individuals’ section under within and outside Kerala categories, respectively. Bharat Catering College (Kozhikode) and Kairali Cultural Association Fujairah (UAE) came first in the institutions’ category under within and outside Kerala sections, respectively.
To see the variety of Pookkalam designs submitted by the enthusiastic participants, check https://www.keralatourism.org/contest/pookkalam2021/list-view