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The fifth edition of the annual Grand Kerala Shopping Festival is well ready to kick off on December 1st. Arguably Asia's largest shopping fiesta, the festival will last 46 days, opening the doors to the shoppers and tourists from across the globe.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will inaugurate the festival in Kochi. The Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan will be the chief guest of the function, that will be presided over by the Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar. P K Kunjalikutty, the Minister of Industries will launch a special GKSF–KTDC package. Malayalam super actors Mammootty and Jayaram will be present in the flamboyant event. Declaring the opening of the festival, a road show was flagged off in Kochi on Monday.
The Grand Kerala Shopping Festival, abbreviated as GKSF, was started in 2007. Kerala was the first Indian state to initiate a shopping festival of such great magnitude. It is organised by Tourism Department in co-ordination with the Industries & Commerce Department, Finance Department and Local Self Government Department. Besides the big names, many small scale entrepreneurs and manufactures will showcase their products in the fest. Boosting tourism, the traditional art forms of Kerala would be staged in selected locations.
The Shoppers will get fair discounts on products through scratch-and-win coupons. There will be also lucky draws daily and weekly. A mega prize of 101 kg of gold will be presented to a lucky shopper. Also the festival will provide a 100 % VAT refund to the consumers from outside Kerala who shop using their credit cards.
In Kochi, there will be introduced night shopping from December 20th to Jan 1st. A fire show by an artist from the Czech Republic has been arranged. There will have programmes by film stars and playback singers also.
A turnover of about Rs 2,500 crores is expected from the festival. It was Rs 2,200 crores the last year. More than 3,000 shops have already registered for the festival yet. The organisers expect it to raise as the fest progresses.
The GKSF will see another shopping season after the Onam period. The Christmas and New Year time will get it to the peak.
The Shopping fiesta will conclude on 15th January. The official closing ceremony would be held in Malappuram on January 21.