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The Power of Branding!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018, 17:20 Hrs  [IST]

The power of branding does help not just in good times, but more so when going is tough and challenging to the fore. The story of Kerala teaches this in no uncertain terms. The money that Kerala spent on destination marketing campaign 'God's Own Country' all these years did help the state at its worst times in recent history. The kind of help and support that state is receiving from all across the globe shows the success of branding and the power of destination Kerala.

The nature's fury that the state has undergone recently had no parallels. It was unprecedented in the sense that there was hardly any district left from the ill-effects of harsh monsoon and resultant landslips, flash-floods, etc. According to government estimates, nearly 400 lives have been lost and properties, both private and public, worth INR 20,000 cr were damaged in the history's worst deluge. The state has embarked on a massive clean-up and rehabilitation ever since flood waters has receded and even that gargantuan challenge has been receiving unparalleled support from people and voluntary organisations.

The flood fury and its coverage by global media has moved people and agencies alike across the spectrum - from international agencies like UN and its various associate organisations, governments across the world, parliamentarians - all came out pledging support. The heroic deeds of local fishermen, the various wings of Indian defence forces, and the local populace in rescue and relief became folklores by now.

The help and support is pouring unabated from all parts of the country and the globe. Although some irritants did crop up related to financial aid from UAE, the dust died down quickly.

Equally important is the benefits the state reaped because of its futuristic investments in cyber connectivity in rescue and relief operations. It came in handy in reaching out to people stranded at different places. It's also heart-warming to see how the government and its agencies are using these platforms in roping volunteers in rehabilitation work in many places. Around 70,000 people registered and joined in cleaning up activities in Kuttanad area of Alleppey district in no time.

The role of tourism industry stakeholders during the disaster was patchy initially. The hesitance of Houseboat owners to join the rescue operations invited criticism from all quarters. However, the industry realised the mistake and recouped by forming a voluntary tourism Task Force to support administration in relief and rehabilitation.

In all the adversities, Kerala's industry showed exemplary resilience. They are sure that the ‘God's Own Country’ brand is so strong and compelling and therefore cannot remain out of travellers’ itineraries for long. They will come calling, may be not as a tourist this time, but to see how their favourite destination survived and got back on its feet again after severe thrashing from nature!

P Krishna Kumar
Assistant Editor

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