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Updated: April 11, 2010 16:40 IST

Project to develop new tourism sites with local participation

Staff Reporter
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The State government has conceived a project for promoting development of new tourist destinations with local participation. As part of this move, 35 destination development councils have been formed in the State, said Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Minister for Home and Tourism.

He was speaking after inaugurating the valedictory function of the two-day State-level camp for tourism clubs at the St. Joseph Parish Hall, Kumbalanghi, near here on Saturday.

These councils will have the local MLA as chairman and the respective panchayat president as vice-chairman. The State government will release funds equal to the total contribution made by the local administration body, MLA and MP for taking up development projects at the destination. A government order to this effect was issued six months ago, he said.

Tourism clubs in these destinations should be made part of the process. This will give recognition for tourism clubs in schools and colleges at the local level.

Even though 800-odd tourism clubs have been registered, according to reports only 350 or 400 clubs are active.

The State government is planning to increase support to the active clubs and initiate moves to disband the namesake ones, the Minister said.

Tourism clubs can play a significant role in promoting heritage tourism. Nearly 350 students from tourism clubs across the State participated in the camp. This is the second camp organised for tourism clubs.

The participants in this camp were divided into groups and made to conduct surveys on the model tourism project being implemented in Kumbalanghi. Teams from Idukki, Kannur and Ernakulam were given top three prizes for best project reports prepared out of this survey.

Some of the students, who participated in the camp, complained to the Minister that the camp was timed during the examinations and this has caused them hardships.

In another development, the Kumbalanghi Model Tourism Development Society protested against not involving K.V. Thomas, Union Minister of State for Food and Agriculture, in the camp.

C.M. Dinesh Mani, MLA, presided. M. Sivasankaran, Director, Department of Tourism; V. Rajeevan, director, Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies; Venugopal C.K., State level coordinator, Tourism Clubs; A.X. Antony Sheelan, block panchayat presidentspoke.

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