Responsible tourism mission officially launched by Honorable Chief Minister of Kerala

Kumarakom, Kottayam, October 23, 2017: The Responsible Tourism initiatives in the state woke up to a new dawn, with the Honorable Chief Minister, Shri Pinarayi Vijayan launching the dedicated Mission for it. The world's first Responsible Tourism Mission is all set to lead Kerala Tourism through people-friendly, local community-friendly and environment-friendly, initiatives ensuring rural development, employment opportunities and women empowerment.

SriKadakampally Surendran, Honorable Minister of Tourism, presided over thefunction. Sri K Suresh Kurup MLA and Shri Jose K Mani were the chief guests ofthe function. Dr Venu V, IAS, Principal Secretary, Kerala tourism delivered thewelcome speech and P Bala Kiran, IAS, Director of Tourism presented theResponsible Tourism Mission project. Sri K Rupesh Kumar, coordinator, StateResponsible Tourism Mission announced the new Responsible tourism destinations. 

Welcomingthe gathering, Dr Venu V IAS Principal Secretary Kerala Tourism said that It’sa proud moment for all of us. Responsible Tourism that started off in Kumarakomis now a world renowned concept and a point of discussion across the globe.It’s definitely a proud moment for us to be a pioneer in setting up thisconcept so effectively. Within a span of 9 years, 16 crores is the profitKumarakom could gain through tourism. Around 1.16 crore revenue is generated bythe localities. The reason behind this growth is the involvement as a group bythe communities around. The aim of RT is to create 1.5 lakh jobs in the future,said Dr Venu V. 

Presidingover the function, Sri Kadakampally Surendran, Honorable Minister of Tourism,said, to be the pioneer state in practicing the concept of Responsible Tourismin the entire country is a proud moment. The government policy is to makeTourism more popular. Apart from improving the functioning of the elite class,the government also aims to use tourism as a tool for village development andwomen empowerment. Their aim is to make Responsible Tourism more beneficial tothe localities. It feels proud to see the mission that started off in Kumarakomas a pilot project in 2008 and is very happy and proud about this. TheGovernment moves forward aiming to bring in more job opportunities and incomegeneration to the localities” 

Inauguratingthe Responsible Tourism Mission of the state, Speaking on the occasion,Honorable Chief Minister- Pinarayi Vijayan said , “Waste management should be aprime consideration in any development program. The tourist spots and placesaround the state should be kept clean at all times without asking foradditional cost. It should be a practice by itself. The tourism departmentshould make enough arrangements to accommodate the n number of tourists comingin to the state. One needs to appreciate Responsible Tourism completely for itis a source of support for the local communities. Our land is encompassed ofserenity and greenery. That is why it's called God’s own country. 

Shri P BalaKiran IAS, Director of Kerala Tourism gave a deep insight into the ResponsibleTourism mission project. 1”4 districts across the state have initiatedResponsible Tourism cells. The state RT cell has been formed and has alreadykick started with its functioning and as part of this, from 6 destinations,today we have almost 35 destinations on RT across Kerala", said Bala KiranIAS, Director of Tourism, Kerala. 

Turningthese baby steps into big leaps, the Mission takes Responsible Tourism to all14 districts. The government plans to create 1,50,000 employment opportunitiesin the tourism sector alone through the Responsible Tourism Mission, in a spanof 5 years. The selected destinations for the Responsible Tourism plan aremostly areas that are covered by backwater, sea, wildlife, heritage anddiversity in areas comprising natural beauty. The scheme is being implementedwith the primary objective of ensuring extra income and livelihood foragricultural laborers, traditional industrial workers and marginalizedcommunities in these areas and to give equal importance to thesocial-environmental parity. 

Vocationaltraining will be provided to at least 50,000 local natives.  This year, asa part of Responsible Tourism, at least 20 Village Life Experience Packageswill be opened. It has been proven that Village tourism packages attract a lotof tourists because of the conventional experience of rope-making, handloom,earthenware and toddy tapping in these packages. This project will take theresponsibility of ensuring more ways of income to the local community by meansof keeping traditional jobs, handicraft activities and classical art forms aspart of tourism. The next 4 years will focus on formation of widespreadworkshops, tourism planning with popular participation and many more. 

Since itsinitiation in 2008, the Kumarakom village panchayat had been performing wellunder the guidance of committee members and their performances and activitiessince then was felicitated acclaiming the  Panchayat President A.P Salimonand team. They were rewarded with mementos from the Tourism department,presented by Honorable Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. 

The chief minister and the tourismminister also honored the Panchayat committee, various tourism coordinators,facilitators, entrepreneurs as well as natives of Kumarakom, for theirparticipation in bagging the national award to the village this year forResponsible Tourism.

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