The Kerala RT Mission won 4 gold medals at this year’s International Centre for Responsible Tourism Indian Sub-Continent Awards
Responsible Tourism initiatives are proving to the mainstay in Kerala’s travel industry kitty, as the state’s Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission has yet again landed a handful of coveted laurels.
The Kerala RT Mission won four gold medals at this year’s International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Indian Sub-Continent Awards instituted by the Madhya Pradesh government and UK-based ICRT International, earning the southern state a hat-trick of awards at any such venue. With this, Kerala qualifies to the World Tourism Market awards in four RT categories.
The RT Mission won the top honours in plastic waste elimination, water conservation (under the Water STREET Project), diversification in the tourism sector and revival of post-Covid tourism. Kerala RT Mission State Coordinator K. Rupeshkumar received the awards from Madhya Pradesh Tourism Minister Usha Thakur at a function in Bhopal.
Model to participatory tourism efforts
Tourism Minister of Kerala P A Mohamed Riyas hailed the RT Mission’s contributions as a model to the participatory tourism initiatives in the country. Efforts are on to develop more people-friendly tourism initiatives, he noted. Tourism Principal Secretary K S Srinivas said the RT Mission’s waste-management efforts have proved to be a model for other states in the country. Going beyond management to make useful goods from waste makes the initiative special, he added.
According to Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh, the awards were a testament to the social commitment of the state government, the Department of Tourism and the RT Mission functioning under it as a nodal agency to spread and implement sustainable tourism initiatives. It gives immense pride that the jury hailed the excellent level of female participation in RT units, he added.
The award jury, headed by ICRT founder Dr Harold Goodwin, specially lauded Kerala RT Mission’s innovative project STREET (Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic Tourism) in ensuring people’s participation aimed at grassroots development. The panel noted that Kerala has consistently involved local administration bodies in the state’s water conservation projects, catering to tourism promotion.
Praise from jury
The RT Mission’s coordination with the state’s hotels and resorts in ending use-and-throw of plastic products won international attention. Kerala succeeded in curbing the use of plastic bottles with four-fifths of the RT Mission units avoiding their use besides ensuring supply of non-plastic products to its accommodation units, the jury noted.
The ICRT jury also praised Kerala RT Mission developing work-at-home videos through its units, besides a string of activities it carried out through local administration. These include tourism resource mapping, village life, cultural-festival tour packages and Agri-tourism network that promotes farm tourism, besides Experience Ethnic Cuisine Programme that serves regional food and dishes.
Also, Kerala RT Mission is the country’s best example in women empowerment, the jury observed. Dr. Goodwin said the world can no more ignore the efforts of Kerala RT Mission towards green and sustainable tourism.