Adventure Tourism

Kerala to issue guidelines, BIS certification for adventure tourism

In a first such initiative in the country, Kerala Tourism will be implementing guidelines and a certification scheme from Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) to promote more systematic approach and safety in adventure tourism. The procedural guidelines for registration are under consideration of the state government and is expected to come into force by October. BIS will be joining hands with Kerala Tourism to launch the new certification scheme, which is meant to comply with safety and security standards.

This was disclosed by State Tourism Director P Bala Kiran IAS on the concluding day of the International Conference on ‘Global Trends in Tourism Studies’, held to commemorate the Pearl Jubilee of the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS) here on Sunday. The two-day meet was organised in association with Kerala Tourism, Government of India and UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Speaking at a panel session on ‘Adventure Tourism’, Bala Kiran said, “Over the years, we have kept ourselves away from forming regulations in adventure tourism sector. But classifications were there for standardisation purpose in the tourism industry.”

As per the new guidelines, all adventure activity providers need to follow the guidelines and to be registered with the Department of Tourism for running business for a period of two years. Moreover, qualified instructors and employees must be appointed at the centre, he said. Now that adventure tourism is growing fast Kerala Tourism has decided to streamline the activities of this sector.

“Percentage-wise, the number of domestic tourists is increasing over the years. As per the trend in 2017-18, out of 1.67 crore tourists came to Kerala last year, about 11 lakh (1.1 million) were foreign tourists and rest of them were domestic tourists.

Manesh Bhaskar, CEO, Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), in his presentation, informed that Kerala Tourism will also to start courses and training to generate quality manpower in adventure tourism sector.

“KITTS has launched certificate and diploma course ranging from two weeks to six months. KATPS is also planning to start an adventure tourism academy by next year to cater to the growing demand of this sector.”

“The role of KATPS is how to minimise the risk in adventure tourism, sustaining the thrill it offers to tourists. Our aim is to tap the adventure tourism potential of the state and position it as a sought-after.” Set up in 2012, KATPS is governed by its General Body and Executive Committee with State Tourism Minister as Chairman and Tourism Secretary as Vice Chairman. Noting that the implementation of guidelines would bring a great change in the sector, Akshay Kumar, CEO, Mercury Himalayan Expeditions, New Delhi, said with this Kerala is going to set a benchmark in the sector.

Commander Sam. T. Samuel, MD, Kalypso Adventures, said regulatory measures are indispensable and they have to come from within the operator that he is not relying on shortcuts. In unanimous voice, the panellists said it was essential to ensure that activities are conducted in a safe and ethical manner. Pradeep Murthy, MD, Muddy Boots, was the moderator.

Kerala offers a host of adventure tourism activities like backwater cruise, camping, jungle safari, canoeing, hiking and biking, trekking, water sports, wildlife tours, paragliding, scuba diving and much more. On the final day of the conference, panel discussions were also held on ‘MICE and Cruise Tourism’; ‘Gastronomy Tourism’; and ‘Luxury and Wellness Tourism’.

The participants included Dr Rajashree Ajith, KITTS Director; and Baby Mathew, President, Kerala Travel Mart Society, among others.