Kerala hits STREET to add focus on experiential tourism

STREET’ to be implemented in seven districts in the first phase

Looking to tap into the rural hinterland of the state, Kerala’s tourism administration is ushering in a unique travel project so as to help visitors experience the diversity of offerings in these interior terrains.

Christened STREET, short for Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic, Tourism hubs, the first phase of the project will be rolled out in select spots across seven districts in the state.

The select spots are Kadalundi in Kozhikode; Thrithala and Pattithara in Palakkad; Pinarayi and Ancharakkandi in Kannur; Maravanthuruthu and Manchira in Kottayam; Valiyaparamba in Kasaragod; Kanthalloor in Idukki; and Chekadi in Wayanad.

The project, which is expected to take at least four years for implementation, has been conceived by the Responsible Tourism Mission and is inspired by the ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ slogan of The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

According to sources at Kerala Tourism, themes that have been lined up for the project would include green street, cultural street, village life experience street, experiential tourism street, agri-tourism street, water street and art street. These streets will be in tune with the peculiarities of each of these locations and would focus on experiential tourism.

The project, according to Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas, offers a huge potential for growth in the tourism sector and would usher in significant changes. Adding that “it aims to present the unique identity of our state before travellers”, he said it will foster mutually beneficial organic relationships between tourism development in the state and the ordinary lives of people.

STREET in public private partnership mode

The Tourism Department envisages implementing the STREET project in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. Local bodies and residents of these locations as stakeholders. Besides, joint ventures with local bodies are also being looked at.

Termed as a model for decentralised tourism development, the STREET project is expected to help in bringing lesser known rural destinations to the mainstream. This move will also aid in the generation of more employment opportunities. Further, the project is also seen as a catalyst towards opening of added growth avenues for the state. Besides this, rural destinations will get to develop their basic infrastructure too.

Further democratisation of Kerala’s tourism sector envisaged

Pointing out that the STREET project would help in further democratising Kerala’s tourism sector and present new experiences to visitors, Responsible Tourism state mission coordinator K Rupesh Kumar said that three types of tourist centres have been envisaged under the STREET project.

The three tourist centres include locations that have not been featured in the tourism map but hold potential to be developed; locations close to international tourism centres that have the potential to provide new experiences to tourists and increase their length of stay; and those that can be developed in the future as major destinations.

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