Responsible Tourism, which began modestly in the palm-fringed backwaters of Kumarakom in 2008 as an experiment has today mushroomed and fleshed out as the motto of Kerala’s Tourism module. With a newly founded Responsible Tourism
Mission and Kumarakom bagging the prestigious Responsible Tourism Award at the World Travel Mart, London, it is no wonder that the New Tourism Policy unveiled by Kerala focuses in depth at sustainable tourism initiatives. The policy also forms a major highlight of this year’s domestic campaign. The revamped fare with an array of new tourism products was showcased at Mumbai today.
“To ensure the accomplishment of an ambitious target of a 100% increase in arrival of foreign tourists and 50% in domestic tourists in five years, a tourism regulatory authority has been formed. This would help put a stop to any unhealthy practices and guarantee better intervention of the Tourism Department through scrutiny and a licensing system,” said Shri. Kadakampally Surendran, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Govt. of Kerala.
The State has already registered a remarkable increase in international and domestic tourist arrivals during 2016. While international tourist arrivals to Kerala during the year 2016 was 10,38,419 – an increase of 6.25% over the previous year’s, the domestic tourist arrival was 1,31,72,535 marked a 5.67% increase. The total revenue has also seen a whopping increase of 11.12% over the last year’s figure.
“Most foreign tourists flock to Kerala to experience its cultural heritage but what we are trying to showcase is the idea that our culture isn’t limited to performances on stage. It is ingrained in our way of life and the department is taking small but significant steps towards helping a traveler experience the richness of Kerala, be it our temple festivals, cuisine, rural crafts, folk forms or traditional and popular art forms,” said Smt. Rani George, IAS, Secretary (Tourism), Govt of Kerala.
Another offering in the historical space is the Spice Route Project that rekindles the 2000-year old ancient sea links and shared cultural legacies with 30 countries. This UNESCO-backed endeavor has been designed to re-establish Kerala’s maritime associations with the countries on the Spice Route and to revive cultural, historical and archaeological exchanges between these countries.
“Despite of Demonetization, GST and some sort of ban in liquor, Kerala tourism has not suffered much from last 2-3yrs as a service is very tremendously not only for people, the government, but also the rules of fraternity is speaking and positing the assets which isn’t harming further. For specific years we have targeting about the 10% increase in terms of domestic and international travelers.” adds Mr. P Muraleedharan, Department of Tourism, Govt. of Kerala.
A combination of a cultural feast of Kerala’s traditional dance forms and its attractive tourism products was showcased today. Partnership meets like these provide an opportunity for the tourism Trade in the respective cities to interact, establish contact and develop business relationship with a cross section of tourism industry players from Kerala. Dhrisya Thalam, a visual storytelling that showcases the various dance forms of Kerala would be presented alongside, to unveil the village life and folklore of God’s Own Country.