INDIA. Kerala: In the current situation of COVID-19, people are apprehensive about traveling, countries around the world are taking precautionary measures to provide a safe experience to tourists. Hence, Responsible tourism has become the need of the hour.
Responsible tourism refers to the responsibility that both visitors and hosts take to ensure that the negative effects of the travel are minimized. Apart from the safety and protection from infection, responsible tourism requires that operators, hoteliers, governments, local people, and tourists take responsibility, take action to make tourism more sustainable.
Recently, Kerala’s famed Responsible Tourism (RT) found another state officially emulating the pioneering initiative, as Madhya Pradesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the state for implementation of the Kerala model, which involves local communities and makes tourism a tool for rural development.
MoU entrusts the Kerala RT Mission with the task of implementing RT projects in Madhya Pradesh in ways that suit that state. Kerala will help Madhya Pradesh to chart its RT masterplan, get the human resources ready to implement the project, conduct training projects, list the criteria for the formation of district tourism promotion councils, locate sustained tourism projects to carry out RT projects, formulate social and economic security measures, help in the gradation of hotels, resorts, and homestays from tourism clubs and restrooms on lines of Kerala’s RT.
The two states have reportedly signed a joint declaration under which Kerala will extend a series of services under a 16-point program. The MoUs were exchanged at a ceremony by the state’s Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Ms. Usha Thakur.
Shri Surendran said, ”Responsible Tourism was the only tool for the sustainable development of tourism as it creates better places for people to live in and visit. RT takes responsibility for the economic well-being of society. It ensures social and cultural stability besides environmental protection.”
Shri Surendran said Kerala did not have a practical model to follow or replicate when it launched the RT. Today, the mission has more than 20,000 units comprising small-scale entrepreneurs, artists, craftspeople, traditional workers, farmers, and other service providers.
“They are local communities at the grassroots, linked directly or indirectly with tourism,” he added.
Thakur said that she was overwhelmed by the way the tradition, culture, and heritage of Kerala is being preserved here. She pointed out that with the help of RT Mission of Kerala, the rustic beauty, life, and heritage of Madhya Pradesh could be highlighted on the world tourism map.
Talking about this she said, “There are several tribes like Bhil, Sahariya, and Gond living in our state, and we want to showcase their traditional value, attire, and food habits to the entire country and outside world with Kerala’s assistance. India is a country of villages and its soul lies in the villages and this we want to show to the world.”