Responsible tourism mission officially launched by Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan

Kumarakom: 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.

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

Welcoming the gathering, Dr Venu V IAS Principal Secretary Kerala Tourism said that It’s a proud moment for all of us. Responsible Tourism that started off in Kumarakom is 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 this concept so effectively. Within a span of 9 years, 16 crores is 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.

Presiding over the function, Sri Kadakampally Surendran, Honorable Minister of Tourism, said, to be the pioneer state in practicing the concept of Responsible Tourism in the entire country is a proud moment. 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. It feels proud to see the mission that started off in Kumarakom as a pilot project in 2008 and is very happy and proud about this. The Government moves forward aiming to bring in more job opportunities and income generation to the localities”

Inaugurating the Responsible Tourism Mission of the state, Speaking on the occasion, Honorable Chief Minister- Pinarayi Vijayan said , “Waste management should be a prime consideration in any development program. The tourist spots and places around the state should be kept clean at all times without asking for additional cost. It should be a practice by itself. The tourism department should make enough arrangements to accommodate the n number of tourists coming in to the state. 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.

Shri P Bala Kiran IAS, Director of Kerala Tourism gave a deep insight into the Responsible Tourism mission project. 1”4 districts across the state have initiated Responsible Tourism cells. The state RT 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 Bala Kiran IAS, Director of Tourism, Kerala.

Turning these baby steps into big leaps, the Mission takes Responsible Tourism to all 14 districts. The government plans 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.

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

Since its initiation in 2008, the Kumarakom village panchayat had been performing well under the guidance of committee members and their performances and activities since then was felicitated acclaiming the Panchayat President A.P Salimon and team. They were rewarded with mementos from the Tourism department, presented by Honorable Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The chief minister and the tourism minister also honored 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.