Kerala’s Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission has won four gold medals at this year’s International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Indian Sub-Continent Awards instituted jointly by the Government of Madhya Pradesh and UK-based ICRT International, earning the State a hat-trick of awards.
With this, Kerala qualifies to the World Tourism Market awards in four RT categories.
The RT Mission won top honours in plastic-waste elimination, water conservation (under the Water STREET Project), diversification in the tourism sector, and revival of post-COVID tourism.
State coordinator of Kerala RT Mission K. Rupeshkumar received the awards from Madhya Pradesh Tourism Minister Usha Thakur at a function held in Bhopal. Hailing the RT Mission’s contributions as a model for participatory tourism initiatives in the country, Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas said efforts were on to develop more such people-friendly initiatives.
Kerala Tourism Principal Secretary K.S. Srinivas said the RT Mission’s waste management efforts had proved to be a model for several other States. “Going beyond management to make useful goods from waste materials makes the initiative even more special,” he added.
Lauding the sustainable-tourism initiatives of the RT Mission, Tourism Director P.B. Nooh explained how it was a proud moment since the jury hailed the excellent level of women’s participation in RT units.
The award jury headed by ICRT founder Harold Goodwin specially lauded the Kerala RT Mission’s innovative project STREET (Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic Tourism) in ensuring people’s participation aimed at grassroots-level development. The panel further noted that Kerala had consistently involved local bodies in the State’s water conservation projects.
The State succeeded in curbing the use of plastic bottles, with four-fifth of the RT Mission units avoiding their use, besides ensuring supply of non-plastic products to its accommodation units. The ICRT jury also praised it for developing work-at-home videos through its units and initiatives like tourism-resource mapping, village life, cultural-festival tour packages, and agri-tourism network, besides ethnic cuisines, it said.
Mr. Goodwin said the world could no longer ignore efforts made by the Kerala RT Mission towards green and sustainable tourism. Also, winning ICRT International 2022 awards from Kerala were Kerala Voyages, Let’s Go For A Camp, Veer Naturals Pvt. Ltd., and Blackberry Hills Munnar Nature Resort and Spa (which won silver) in the category ‘Increasing tourism’s contribution to natural heritage and biodiversity’.