Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission bagged the prestigious ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ in the Indian Responsible Tourism Awards category at the Indian Responsible Tourism International Conference held at the ITC Maurya Hotel, New Delhi, on February 9 and 10. The award is the top-most honour in the Indian Responsible Tourism sector and is the Indian award chapter of the World Travel Market.
Sonam Wangchuk, award-winning innovator, educationist and creator of The Ice Stupa Project; Harold Goodwin, Advisor, WTM Responsible Tourism, and Indranil Roy, CEO, Outlook Traveler, together presented the award to Kerala Responsible Tourism Co-coordinator K Rupesh Kumar at the function held as a part of the Indian Responsible Tourism International Conference.

The award Jury said Kerala has set an example for the world through the innovative responsible tourism methods used in Responsible Tourism Mission. According to Sonam Wangchuk, the public-oriented methods used in Kerala Tourism sector should be emulated by the rest of the states in India and also by the whole world. Kerala, which stood out among the rest of the states in the country in terms of tourism, had gained much domestic and global attention through its latest mission on Responsible Tourism.

“Through the Responsible Tourism Mission, Kerala focuses on economic, social and environmental responsibilities of local communities. The Tourism Department has been striving to involve the public in the development projects charted out by the tourism sector through this mission. The mission that has included places like Wayanad, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Kovalam has been rewarded with one of the prominent awards in the Indian Responsible Tourism sector for its performance,” said Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Tourism.

According to Rani George IAS, Secretary, Department of Tourism, “Kerala’s Responsible Tourism initiatives have come a long way. Implemented with the primary objective of ensuring extra income and livelihood for agricultural labourers, traditional industrial workers and marginalised communities in areas where the Mission is actively involved, the Responsible Tourism projects have proved helpful to the people living in these areas in a major way”.

P Balakiran IAS, Kerala Tourism Director, said: “Extending a helping hand to the local communities by involving them in tourism-related projects, Kerala has already set an example for the rest of India and the world. The award endorses Kerala’s efforts and would strengthen the Responsible Tourism efforts going forward.” Earlier, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran had received the WTM Award and National Award for the Best Tourism Project in India for the State Responsible Tourism Mission.