Agri Tourism: 500 new rural tourism destinations to come up in 5 years
Kerala’s Responsible Tourism initiative is renowned all over the world, with nations and travel organisations across the globe having applauded the state’s mission towards a more responsible manner of celebrating tourism. The government of Kerala had long back initiated its Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission incorporating economic, social and environmental responsibilities in tourism activities, too much success.
According to the Department of Tourism, Kerala (Kerala Tourism), making tourism a tool for the development of the village and local communities, eradicating poverty and giving emphasis to women empowerment are the main aims of the Responsible Tourism Mission. Further, the mission strives to provide an additional income and a better livelihood to farmers, traditional artisans, and marginalised people along with creating a social and environmental equilibrium.
Kerala Agri Tourism Network – Farm Tourism
In line with this mission, Kerala Tourism has unveiled a new initiative aimed at ensuring monetary benefits to the agricultural community by linking farming activities with tourism.
Christened Kerala Agri Tourism Network – Farm Tourism, the initiative comes under the globally-acclaimed Responsible Tourism Mission. Agri Tourism Network-Farm Tourism will function on the basis of UNWTO’s Declaration that sees a future in responsible tourism that emphasizes the experiential aspect of tour and travel, said a Kerala Tourism official.
As part of the network, authorities will set up 500 farm tourism units and 5,000 homestay farms, or integrated agriculture units in the compounds of houses, by March 31, 2023. Agriculture and tourism activities will be blended in a way that would not harm farming practices, he added.
Minister for Tourism Mohammed Riyas unveiled the new Agri Tourism Network-Farm Tourism project, along with kick-starting a state-level training programme to create trained manpower to strengthen farm tourism and impart an added impetus to the tourism sector in the post-Covid 19 phase.
Training to create manpower to boost farm tourism
As many as 680 people have registered for the Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission’s training programme. Farms run by units that complete the training successfully will qualify for RT packages. Authorities will ensure the marketing of such farms’ produce by connecting them with tourism initiatives as in the famed Kumarakom backwaters of the Kottayam district. The sales will also be carried out online, for which platforms will be formed.
The Minister pointed out that Kerala Tourism will be teaming up with local self-government institutions across the state to identify 500 new destinations in five years. The Responsible Tourism Mission has a key role in achieving this target.
Kerala’s special agri traditions taken into account for new project
“Tourism projects of Kerala are largely meant to bring benefits to local communities. The Department of Tourism is striving to tap the tourism possibilities of the entire state. The responsibility shown by the citizens in showcasing their localities in a sustainable manner has contributed substantially to the success of tourism in many countries. Citizens in each locality should feel proud of their area and make it their responsibility to keep the place safe and hygienic,” he said.
Stating that Kerala’s special agricultural traditions have been taken into account while creating the Agri Tourism Network, the Minister added that tourism has the potential to associate with various departments like Health and Sports to create more opportunities, he said.