Thiruvananthapuram: The only Asian driver in Formula One, Narain Karthikeyan said an F1 race track in Kerala is certainly going to be a boost for tourism in the state.
"Yes, Kerala is known as a tourist destination and hence a race track in the state will certainly boost tourism earnings," Karthikeyan told reporters on Thursday.
The Indian driver was in the city to meet Tourism Minister AP Anil Kumar to seek the help of the state government so that he can make a demo drive on his HRT team vehicle in the state capital.
"The Minister has agreed to support this and it will happen during the coming Onam season [in August]. We are now on the lookout for an 800 metre-long road where I can do a demo," said Karthikeyan.
Incidentally, this is the first time that Karthikeyan is doing a demo drive in South India.
The Minister after the meeting with the ace driver said that the state government will do their bit to see that this demo drive becomes a reality.
Earlier in the day, Kumar told IANS ahead of his meeting with F1 driver that if he suggests that a racetrack in the state will boost tourism activities, the government would definitely look into it.
"We are always positive in our outlook. We have no issues in considering new proposals, which will take Kerala tourism to greater heights. For this, we have to think out of the box. We will neither say no nor yes straightaway. All aspects will be looked into. Only then will we comment," he said.
The number of foreign tourists arriving in Kerala rose from 6.5 lakh in 2010 to 7.3 lakh in 2011. During this period, the number of domestic tourists also grew from 85 lakh to 93 lakh. The state's foreign exchange earnings also rose by 11.18 percent to touch Rs 4,221 crore, while its earnings went up 9.4 percent to Rs 19,037 crore.