Week-long Virtual Onam Celebrations Begin in God's Own Country

Industry Watch | August 19, 2021 | News

Onam Kerala Tourism

Considering the constraints imposed by the pandemic, Onam, the festival that showcases the best of Kerala’s culture and performing traditions, is set to go virtual.

Using audio-visual and social media, the attempt is to rekindle the spirit of celebration and offset the general slowdown amid Covid19.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the week-long virtual Onam celebrations organised by the state Tourism Department on 14 August 2021, noting that the government has initiated effective measures to resume the pandemic-hit tourism activities in a safe and risk-free manner. 

Later, tourism minister PA Mohamed Riyas, who presided over the online function, said that Kerala Tourism has been conducting Onam celebrations for more than three decades.

“Onam celebrations are being conducted not only to generate festive mood among the public and make the commercial business active but also to provide a source of income for thousands of artistes. In the pandemic scenario, the virtual Onam celebrations will be a new experience for all. The ‘Global Pookkalam’ competition is the main attraction, which will spread the message of unity among the Malayalis living in various parts of the world. We are trying to unite all Malayalis by harnessing the possibilities of the new-age media. Since Onam celebrations are the prelude to the impending tourism season, we are considering it as an effective campaign strategy. The decision to conduct the event virtually was taken as part of this,” Riyas noted.

“The event is also aimed at providing a source of income for thousands of local artistes, who are struggling during the Covid19 period. Their performances and programmes will be telecast/broadcast through major visual media and FM Radio channels. Moreover, the videos will be streamed through Kerala Tourism’s YouTube channel and other social media pages,” the minister added. 

He also mentioned that the tourism sector of Kerala had faced a serious setback due to the pandemic. A loss of Rs 33,000 crores had been incurred from March 2020 to December 2020, he revealed.

With no on-ground celebrations, brand activations are in focus for agencies.

On how the pandemic has hit the event industry during the festive season this year, Sidhesh Kandiyil, Managing Director, Watermark Event Solutions, said, “As compared to last year, the government has eased the restrictions imposed on the state. While the festivity of Onam is not happening on-ground, the government has organised various competitions virtually including floral decoration which is the highlight of Onam. With no events happening on-ground, the only opportunity for the event industry is through branding and digital marketing as shops and malls are open.”

CM Vijayan inaugurated celebrations by the Tourism Department, which are expected to help artistes hit by the pandemic.

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