Kerala hosts conclave on responsible tourism

March 21st, 2008 - 5:41 pm ICT by admin  

Kochi (Kerala), March 21 (IANS) More than 500 delegates from the travel and tourism industry, and representatives of governments and academia Friday began a four-day meet in Kerala to promote responsible tourism. This is the second such conference on the theme and is being held in India for the first time.
The meet will feature 65 speakers on wide-ranging issues such as local economic development and poverty reduction, taking responsibility for destination sustainability, travel philanthropy and the role of government - national and local.

Kerala Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan inaugurated the meet and said the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has forecast that Kerala will record 11.6 percent annual growth in tourism during the coming decade, the highest in the world for any tourism destination.

“Kerala is now keen to put the concept of responsible tourism into practice. The vision is to create a broad consensus on adoption of responsible tourism practices by all stakeholders. The government is supporting the move through policy level interventions and ensuring professional involvement,” said Balakrishnan.

“To fulfil the responsibility to the local community, we should focus both on local economy and local culture. We must avoid monopoly in reaping the benefits of tourism by a group of capitalists and to assure nature conservation. The opportunities, earnings and possibilities should be shared with the local people,” he said.

Venu V., state tourism secretary, said the conference brings together experts from over 25 countries for an open dialogue on issues and opportunities crucial to shaping the future of the tourism industry.

“Kerala is a fitting host to the event and it is recognition of the enormous progress made by the tourism industry in the state. This is a great opportunity for us to tap into ideas and learn from the international experts to advance responsible tourism growth and unlock the full potential in Kerala,” he added.

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