Kerala to host international conference on responsible tourism


Thiruvananthapuram : Around 400 Indian and foreign delegates will get together in Kerala March 21-24 to learn about latest developments and practices in responsible tourism.

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Speakers from over 20 countries including Britain, Germany, Gambia, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bhutan will discuss wide-ranging topics like local economic development and poverty reduction, taking responsibility for destination sustainability, travel philanthropy and the role of government – national and local.

Addressing reporters here Saturday, Minister for Tourism Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the choice of Kerala as the venue was a tribute to the state’s responsible tourism initiatives.

“Kerala has successfully implemented responsible tourism practices and is home to several working models of responsible tourism practices, contributing to enriching the environment and the local community. I envisage future developments in Kerala taking the responsible path,” said Balakrishnan.

The conference aims to create awareness amongst operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists to take responsibility and action to make tourism more sustainable.

V. Venu, secretary, Kerala Tourism, said the conference would provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn about what has been achieved worldwide in responsible tourism and how to take the agenda forward in Kerala.

“It will help us keep pace with international trends towards best practices and at the same time gain market advantage. We have clinched participation from prominent international personalities including Harsh Varma, Fiona Jeffrey, Renton de Alwis and Hiran Cooray.”

Delegates will get a chance to visit various sites in Kerala including home stays, heritage precincts, farms and local entrepreneurs as models of responsible tourism practices.

Kumbalangi, Fort Kochi, Kumarakom and Mattancherry are some of the places that will be showcased.

This conference is a follow-up from the first Responsible Tourism Conference held in Cape Town, South Africa in 2002.

The event is being organised by the Kerala Tourism and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (India) with India Tourism as a partner.