The Responsible Tourism initiatives in the state of Kerala woke up to a new dawn, with the Chief Minister, Pinarayi Vijayan launching the dedicated mission for it. The world’s first Responsible Tourism Mission will lead Kerala Tourism through people-friendly, local community-friendly and environment-friendly initiatives ensuring rural development, employment opportunities and women empowerment.
K Suresh Kurup MLA and Jose K Mani were the chief guests of the function. P Bala Kiran, Director of Tourism presented the Responsible Tourism Mission project. K Rupesh Kumar, Coordinator, State Responsible Tourism Mission announced the new Responsible tourism destinations.
“Within a span of 9 years, 16 crores are the profit Kumarakom could gain through tourism. Around 1.16 crore revenue is generated by the localities. The reason behind this growth is the involvement as a group by the communities around. The aim of RT is to create 1.5 lakh jobs in the future,” said Dr Venu V, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism.
Presiding over the function, Kadakampally Surendran, Minister of Tourism, said, “The government policy is to make tourism more popular. Apart from improving the functioning of the elite class, the government also aims to use tourism as a tool for village development and women empowerment. Their aim is to make Responsible Tourism more beneficial to the localities.”
Inaugurating the Responsible Tourism Mission of the state and speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said, “One needs to appreciate Responsible Tourism completely for it is a source of support for the local communities. Our land is encompassed of serenity and greenery; that is why it’s called God’s own country.”
With a bunch of new projects under the new mission, the state aims at expanding Responsible Tourism across the state by incorporating a set of new destinations. Currently it is carried out only in seven destinations in the state, viz. Kumarakom, Thekkady, Vythiri, Ambalavayal, Kumbalangi, Bakel and Kovalam.
“The state Responsible Tourism cell has been formed and has already kick started with its functioning and as part of this, from 6 destinations, today we have almost 35 destinations on RT across Kerala”, said P Bala Kiran, Director, Kerala Tourism.
Turning these baby steps into big leaps, the Mission takes Responsible Tourism to all 14 districts. The government has planned to create 1,50,000 employment opportunities in the tourism sector alone through the Responsible Tourism Mission, in a span of 5 years. The selected destinations for the Responsible Tourism plan are mostly areas that are covered by backwater, sea, wildlife, heritage and diversity in areas comprising natural beauty. The scheme is being implemented with the primary objective of ensuring extra income and livelihood for agricultural laborers, traditional industrial workers and marginalized communities in these areas and to give equal importance to the social-environmental parity.
The Chief Minister and the Tourism Minister also honoured the Panchayat committee, various tourism coordinators, facilitators, entrepreneurs as well as natives of Kumarakom, for their participation in bagging the national award to the village this year for Responsible Tourism.