Thiruvananthapuram, Oct 1 In a major endorsement of its sustainable and women-inclusive initiatives, Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM) has bagged the ‘Gold’ award of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) in the Best for Local Sourcing-Craft and Food category.
Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM) Coordinator and state Rural Tourism Nodal Officer K Rupeshkumar received the honour from Ankush Seth, Programme Officer – Culture, UNESCO for India, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Bangladesh, at the India Responsible Tourism awards 2023 ceremony at the Business+Leisure Travel and Mice (BLTM) Meet held in New Delhi, on Saturday.
By securing this prestigious award, Kerala RT Mission stands qualified to participate in the Global Responsible Award to be decided in London in November.
Recently, Kanthalloor village panchayath in Idukki district, where the sustainable and inclusive STREET tourism project of the state RTM was successfully implemented, received the ‘Gold’ award of the Government of India for Best Rural Tourism Projects.
Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said this honour is yet another endorsement of Kerala’s RT initiative, which has a set of globally appreciated models that include sustainable and gender-inclusive projects that benefit the local community.
“This honour reaffirms that Kerala Tourism’s initiatives focusing on women empowerment and local community development have helped in promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism development”, the Minister added.
The coveted honour has been bestowed with state RTM considering its various initiatives that connect small-scale enterprises of women with tourism and facilitate marketing of local products in the tourism sector.
Tourism Secretary K Biju said RTM will be coming out with more projects aimed at women-empowerment and economic advancement of local community, local products and cuisine.
Tourism Director SP B Nooh said awards like this will encourage the state to come up with innovative initiatives that ensure active participation of the local community, especially women.
While choosing Kerala’s RT Mission for the honour, a wide range of activities it successfully carried out have been taken into account. These included Agri-tourism network, Experience Ethnic Cuisine Project that serves regional food and dishes to tourists, Experiential Tour Packages that provide an opportunity for tourists to experience local cuisine, promotion of local art forms, culture, artisans and festivals.
Initiatives to promote local products like handicraft, training provided for local communities and various activities carried out in association with the local self-government institutions were also considered while choosing Kerala’s RT Mission for the award.