Responsible Tourism in the Indian state of Kerala is to receive a big boost with the launch of the RT Mission aiming at expanding RT across the state. Currently RT is carried out only in seven destinations in the state which include Kumarakom, Thekkady, Vythiri, Ambalavayal, Kumbalangi, Bakel and Kovalam. This will be extended to all districts with each district having an office and staff for RT.
Under the RT mission, importance will be given to the classification of hotels and resorts. An online platform will be launched for the marketing of the village products. A Human Resources directory of skilled workers and artisans in the rural villages will also be made as part of the mission. Village life experience package will be extended to more villages in the state.
A unique project, People’s Participation for Planning and Empowerment through Responsible Tourism (PEPPER) will launched on an experimental basis in Vaikom under RT mission. The master plan of the project which will be implemented linking all the local bodies of the region has been already prepared. In the first phase, Vaikom Municipality, Chembu, Maravanthuruth, Udayanapuram, T V Puram, Vechur, Thalayazham and Kallara will be part of the programme and in the second phase Thalayolaparambu and Velloor Panchayaths will join. The project is expected to be completed in three years. Under PEPPER, tourism spots will be identified and will be developed through people’s participation. The local bodies and the people in the locality will be given freedom to decide about the activities in a tourism spot in the area. However, the project implementation will be through Government agencies.
Around 1.5 lakhs of people are expected to get connected to the mission with various activities. Around 50,000 people will be given training.
This is an excerpt from an article first published in the Times of India