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Friday, Oct 10, 2003

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Gold fest set for a glittering start

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LUSTROUS LUCRE: A young customer trying an earring at a jewellery shop in Kochi. A month-long gold festival, styled Swarnam '03, will begin in the five city corporations of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Ernakulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode on Friday. - K.K. Mustafah

Thiruvananthapuram , Oct. 9

THE Kerala Gold Festival, `Swarnam 03', is all set to begin on October 10 with the State-level inauguration to be held in Thiruvananthapuram. Mr K. Sankaranarayanan, State Finance Minister, is scheduled to inaugurate the event, while Mr K.V.Thomas, Minster for Tourism and Fisheries, will preside over the ceremony to be held at Kanakakunnu Palace.

Organised by Kerala Tourism in association with the World Gold Council (WGC) and the All-Kerala Gold and Silver Merchants Association (AKGSMA), the first Kerala Gold Festival will last for a month and will cover the entire State. Special events will be organised in five cities — Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Erna- kulam, Thrissur and Kozhikode — as part of the festival. During the festive month, special programmes will be organised in these cities.

Events that showcase the history and traditions of gold in Kerala, exhibitions of gold jewellery and designs, interactive sessions with gold workers, cultural programmes and competitions will be the highlight of special events in the State's five major cities. Lucky draws and special gifts are also expected to be a part of the festival.

The Gold Festival, which is intended to position Kerala as the best place in the world to shop for gold, has been timed to coincide with the festive season.

Officials believe that the event will attract a good number of visitors from other parts of the country.

Even if a fraction of the 6 million or so domestic tourists who visit the State every year can be persuaded to buy gold, Kerala's revenues will increases substantially, they add.

The Gold Festival is the first event that involves a partnership between the gold trade and a State Government, officials say.

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