ITB-Berlin, the world’s largest travel trade show, has chosen Indian initiative ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ as one of 50 inspirational projects from around the world to highlight as part of its Golden Jubilee celebrations. It is the only such Indian initiative to earn a place on ITB-Berlin’s list, and one of just three from Asia.
“For Compassionate Kozhikode, the recognition from ITB-Berlin marks the culmination of a remarkable first year,” said the city’sDistrict Collector N Prasanth, the man behind the scheme.
Since it was launched in February last year by Mr. Prasanth, ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ has been the subject of regular national and international discussion. World Travel Market in London recently described the initiative as a “groundbreaking destination project.”
“Our mission is to bring together several grassroots projects in the city,” said Mr. Prasanth. “People from all walks of life are involved to transform the lives of ordinary people by joining hands with them to find solutions,” he added.
‘Operation Sulaimani’, one of the projects under ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’, has roped in local restaurants and hotels to ensure none of the city’s inhabitants goes hungry.
Other projects include the ‘Legends of Kozhikode’ project that documents and shares the many hidden stories and characters of the region. Another called ‘The Kozhipedia’, is an Open Streetmap-based project where volunteers collect and record information about everything from roads, streets, pathways, stories, legends, folklore, cultural and natural heritage. ‘Savirigiri’ works to provide students travelling by public transport with security and dignity.
At the ITB-Berlin, held in the German capital during March 9-13, an online portal, ITB50.com, was created to showcase leading examples of excellence in tourism from around the world. Called ’50 Destinations, 50 Encounters, 50 Stories’, the series celebrates the most inspiring and innovative examples from tourism around the world. ‘Compassionate Kozhikode’ is part of the series.
“Positioning a destination based on the value of compassion is one of the most disruptive ideas we have come across when it comes to destination development and promotion,” said Rika Jean-Francoise, CSR commissioner of ITB-Berlin at the ITB50 launch event.
“Tourism has been highlighted and promoted as a powerful tool for development, but ‘Compassionate Kozhickode’ flips the idea on its head. It starts from the idea that a destination is first and foremost a place where people live. It focusses its efforts on making Kozhikode a better place for its citizens. From this, it naturally follows that it will be a better place for travellers to visit,” Mr Jean-Francoise said.