Thiruvananthapuram: The World Travel Market (WTM) London will declare Kerala as the world leader in Responsible Tourism (RT) in 2022. Announcing this at the Tourism Industry Partners Meet held in Thiruvananthapuram recently, Dr. Harold Goodwin, Founder and Director of UK-based International Centre for Responsible Tourism, said democracy and transparency are the major components of RT in Kerala. The event was organised by the Responsible Tourism Mission, State Department of Tourism.
“Firstly, what makes Kerala ascend the world leadership is the concerted action among government, local people and tourism industry in RT activities. Secondly, RT gives equal importance to socio-economic and environmental responsibilities. Thirdly, after the implementation of RT activities, there is an increase in the number of domestic tourists to Kerala,” Dr. Goodwin explained.
Rani George IAS, Secretary, Tourism, said: “We need focused initiatives and unique identity for each place for effective implementation of RT. We want our tourism to be more experiential and responsible. To yield results, we should identify which are the areas that we need to concentrate. We also need more interaction between community, hoteliers and resort owners.” On the occasion, the Tourism Secretary presented a memento to Dr. Goodwin appreciating his guidance and contributions to RT activities in the State.
K Rupesh Kumar, Co-ordinator, State RT Mission, who was recently conferred with World Travel Mart Responsible Tourism Outstanding Achievement Jury Award 2020, was also honoured.
The participants at the meet suggested that it was vital to extend the duration of stay of tourists by tapping the tourism potential of unidentified rural areas. The entrepreneurs also expressed their willingness to rebrand tourism places, including Kovalam in the capital city, by associating with the activities of RT Mission. Around 200 selected entrepreneurs from various parts of the State attended the panel discussion and shared their experience at the meet.
WTM Award Presented to Rupesh Kumar
K Rupesh Kumar, State Responsible Tourism Mission Coordinator, bagged World Responsible Tourism Outstanding Achievement Award 2020 instituted by WTM London. The award is for his notable activities and achievements in the field of Responsible Tourism initiatives in Kerala since 2008. "Rupesh Kumar was instrumental in the implementation of RT initiatives in Kerala. His sincere efforts with the support of Kerala Government have made Kerala RT Mission a model for the rest of the world," said Dr. Harold Goodwin, WTM Responsible Tourism Advisor and International Centre for Responsible Tourism Founder. The jury commented that the idea of Village Life Experience (VLE) from Kerala by Rupesh Kumar has paved the way for the development of a new sector in tourism called Experiential Tourism which is one of the major components in the world tourism market now. The jury highlighted the efforts made by K Rupesh Kumar in transforming the local people into entrepreneurs in the tourism sector. Rupesh Kumar has also played a commendable role in women empowerment and providing opportunities for the marginalised population in the tourism sector. Dr. Goodwin presented the award at a brief function held at Coconut Lagoon Resort at Kumarakom in the presence of veteran tourism entrepreneur Jose Dominic.