Responsible Tourism Gets UNWTO Nod
Kerala Tourism Director presented report on policies and practices | By Yentha
On Feb 03, 2017

Trivandrum: Kerala’s award-winning ‘Responsible Tourism’ (RT) initiatives have come in for recognition from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), describing them as a model for other destinations to replicate.

In a meeting held at the UNWTO headquarters in Madrid, Kerala Tourism Director U V Jose presented a report on the RT campaigns – the heart of Kerala’s tourism story for nearly a decade – to Xu Jing, UNWTO Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. The report contained details of the RT policies and practices implemented in the state and the campaign’s success in giving stakeholdership to local communities.

The report outlined plans of action undertaken as part of this commitment to sustainability such as the implementation of a new RT classification system in keeping with the Global Sustainable Tourism criteria, the Government of Kerala’s ‘Green Carpet’ programme, the creation of destination-level RT units to support local communities and transformative initiatives adopted by trade sector entities like the Kerala Travel Mart’s (KTM) ‘9-point agenda’.

Congratulating Kerala for the initiative’s success, Jing said, “The UNWTO is proud of the work done by Kerala Tourism and impressed by the Kerala model of responsible and sustainable tourism. The projects can be included as part of UNWTO’s global programmes and the report can be a case study for other destinations. We are eager to strengthen our relationship and discuss matters of common interest.”

The UNWTO also invited Kerala Tourism to deliver a presentation at the Joint Commission Meeting to be held in Bangladesh in May. The department was also requested to participate in the UNWTO’s International Conference on Tourism Statistics: Measuring Sustainable Tourism to be held in Manila from June 21-24.

The world’s foremost international tourism organisation also called for the development of closer ties between Kerala Tourism and UNWTO, emphasising the importance of further association to help take the message of sustainable tourism forward.  “Tourism policies in Kerala have always been tempered by an understanding of the uniqueness of the state’s many diverse destinations and their successes are an affirmation of what RT stands for,” Jose said.

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