Kozhikode

Need for people-centric tourism stressed at entrepreneurship meet

Conference dwells on socio-cultural responsibility in the sector

Naduthuruthi, a small island in Thalakkulathur panchayat in Kozhikode was Kerala’s pride at the last World Travel Mart held in London.

The village was the first in the world to have all the 137 houses associated with responsible tourism in some way or the other. For the district unit of the Responsible Tourism Mission, Naduthuruthi is thus a model to show the world how the concept of responsible tourism should be executed. The concept still being in its initial phases, such models are what the world is looking forward to.

The story of how Naduthuruthi became a hub of tourism with the local people in focus was a major referral point at the Tourism Entrepreneurship Meet organised by the Responsible Tourism Mission in Kozhikode on Wednesday. Around 50 entrepreneurs working in the tourism industry in the district took part in the meet that focused on the need for tourism development incorporating the local flavours.

State Coordintaor of the Mission K. Roopesh Kumar spoke on how Kumarakom in Kottayam took baby steps towards making its vibrant tourism sector ‘responsible’ and succeeded in the effort.

“There was a time when the local people of Kumarakom revolted against the tourism industry, mainly because they did not benefit from the resort-centric tourism that was going on in the region. Also because, the natural resources of Kumarakom were being over-exploited in the name of tourism,” Mr. Roopesh said. However, the responsible tourism initiative introduced in the region changed the scenario. The local people started earning the benefits of the tourism industry in the form of tourists visiting their houses and work places to experience the village life. “Kumarakom is now the only place in the world where you can take a selfie from the top of a coconut tree,” Mr. Roopesh said, explaining how novel and revised marketing strategies can change the face of the tourism sector anywhere.

Architect Prashanth spoke on how Kozhikode could tap on its traditional sense of goodness and truthfulness for tourism development. “Whatever is done in the name of tourism should give strength to the local community. Then tourists will come to watch it,” he said suggesting focus on the bylanes and small streets and their culture more than grand structures.

Joint Director of Kerala Tourism C.N. Anitha Kumari suggested that the entrepreneurs get rated for responsible tourism, which would be beneficial for them.

District Tourism Promotion Council Secretary C.P. Beena, District Mission Coordinator Sreekala Lakshmi, Tourism Deputy Director S. Anil Kumar, and Malabar Tourism Society president M.P.M. Mubashir were present.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 5:33:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/need-for-people-centric-tourism-stressed-at-entrepreneurship-meet/article30280895.ece

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