Thiruvananthapuram: The Trafalgar Square in London reverberated to the beat of the ‘chenda’ drums as the fluid movements of ‘Kathakali’ dancers mesmerised more than 50,000 people gathered there to witness a Kerala Tourism-organised performance, an official release here said on Monday.
There were presentations in the ‘Mayor of London’ event in the British capital on Sunday that included a series of traditional music, dance and martial arts performances as part of promoting Kerala.
Kerala chief secretary Jiji Thomson introduced the cultural extravaganza to the audience at the function attended by Deputy Mayor of London Roger Evans.
“Kerala is a top destination on the world tourism map because of the harmony between our land and culture as seen in the beautiful backwaters, majestic hills or calm country sides in the state,” said Thomson.
“Investing in Kerala’s tourism sector is being part of the mission to save the nature and the planet as we are the world leaders in practising sustainable and responsible tourism,” said the top bureaucrat.
Britain is the biggest tourism market for Kerala with 151,497 travellers from there having visited the south Indian state last year.
The Kerala delegation also met prominent tour operators and top media persons in London to promote the ‘Visit Kerala’ campaign.
“We are confident of a major increase in foreign tourist arrivals in the state during the ‘Visit Kerala’ year and beyond,” said Kerala Tourism secretary G. Kamala Vardhana Rao.
Kerala Tourism will also participate in the influential World Trade Mart (WTM) in London, to be held from November 2 to 5, and with the who’s who of global travel and tourism industry attending.
Bullied herself online, Britain’s Princess Beatrice is determined to ensure other girls are equipped to deal with internet abuse and get the best from the digital world.
Beatrice — who as the eldest daughter of Prince Andrew and his former wife, the Duchess of York, is eighth in line to the British throne — said her bullying, about her weight and her appearance, were very public and could not be ignored.
But she said other girls faced this in private and needed to be encouraged to speak out and to know where to get support, which prompted her to get involved in campaigns against cyber bullying.
A recent study by the U.S.-based Pew Research Center found about 60 percent of U.S. teens had been bullied or harassed online, with girls more likely to be the targets of online rumor-spreading or nonconsensual explicit messages.
“You’d like to say don’t pay attention to it … but the best advice is to talk about it,” Beatrice, 30, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation during an interview on Wednesday at the Web Summit, Europe’s largest annual technology conference.
“Being a young girl, but now being 30 and a woman working full time in technology, I feel very grateful for those experiences. But at that time it was very challenging.”
Beatrice, who works at the U.S.-based software company Afiniti, co-founded the Big Change Charitable Trust with a group of friends, including two of Richard Branson’s children, in 2010 to support young people who also grew up in the public eye.
She also last year joined the anti-bullying campaign “Be Cool Be Nice” along with other celebrities such as Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne, which included a book.
“There are lots of people who are ready to help and I want to make sure young people feel they have the places to go to talk about it,” said Beatrice, adding that teachers and parents also had a role to play.
Beatrice said her bullying was so public that she could not hide from it, but her mother, Sarah Ferguson, was a great source of support.
One of the most public attacks on the princess was at the 2011 wedding of her cousin Prince William when her fascinator sparked a barrage of media attention. A month later she auctioned the hat for charity for 81,000 pounds ($106,500).
Her mother, who divorced Prince Andrew in 1996, had to get used to unrelenting ribbing by Britain’s royal-obsessed media.
“She has been through a lot,” said Beatrice, whose younger sister, Eugenie, married at Windsor Castle last month.
“When you see role models who are continually put in very challenging situations and can support you … [then] some of the tools that I have had from her I would like to share.”
Beatrice said mobile technology should be a force for good for girls in developed and developing countries, presenting new opportunities in terms of education, careers and health.