Tourism expert lauds Kerala’s success in Responsible Tourism
Kerala’s tourism model of Responsible Tourism (RT) has been lauded by international expert, stating that RT can take the state to a high rank in the attainment of the globally accepted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
“The most important thing for me is the success of the Responsible Tourism Mission and the way in which local communities have been enabled to earn from tourism as an additional livelihood. Local communities don’t stop what they were doing before but have an additional source of income,” said Harold Goodwin, Founder and Managing Director of the International Center for Responsible Tourism.
He was in Kerala to attend an international symposium on People’s Participation for Participatory Planning & Empowerment through Responsible Tourism (PEPPER), organised by the Responsible Tourism Mission under the Tourism Department.
“While everybody struggles with carbon, Kerala has already been undertaken alternative technologies like solar. Very good management of water resources, small-scale but very productive agriculture with intensive use of the land and the management of the soil along with a very productive horticulture,” added Goodwin.
While talking about the partnerships for the SDGs, Goodwin said Kerala can be among the best places in the world.
“To be honest, I expected to see a lot more damage. One of the problems about natural disasters, when they hit tourism areas, is that the news of the disaster travels very fast, the news of the recovery does not,” said Goodwin, while commenting on the recent flood that has seriously damaged most of the tourism hotspots of the state.
He cautioned about the risk of ‘over tourism’, in the state, which has become a menace in most of the countries. Goodwin welcomed the development of Vaikom as an RT destination, which eased the crowd in Kumarakom. He also suggested intensive marketing of the areas for sustain the success.
On how tourism sector can contribute to the state’s rebuilding after the August floods, Goodwin said the only way the tourism industry can help in the recovery is to get back on its feet and get tourists travelling to the state. Goodwin also praised the coordination between the tourism ministry and the departments.
“Kerala is a very beautiful place to visit. When the tsunami hit various places, in most of the cases, the local community was removed from the tourist areas and rehabilitated elsewhere because there was no other choice. However, it has not happened here,” said Goodwin, who is an Emeritus Professor at Manchester Metropolitan University and Advisor to the World Travel Market.