KERALA

Approval for Tourism classification system

The State government has given its approval for a Responsible Tourism classification system chalked out by Kerala Tourism on the lines of the Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria of the UN and based on sustainable tourism practices followed in four tourist destinations in the State. The system will be used to assess Responsible Tourism initiatives.

A Responsible Tourism Classification Committee with the Secretary, Tourism, as chairman and the Director, Kerala Tourism, as convener has been constituted to implement the system. Official sources told The Hindu here on Saturday that a manual of the classification would be prepared before launching the system. “The classification will not be mandatory for tourism units now, and the effort is to kick off the classification within a month and a half,” an official said.

Grading

The classification will be based on grading in the areas of sustainable management, socio-cultural responsibility, economic responsibility, and environmental responsibility. Potential indicators have been identified for each criterion, which is quantifiable. Of the total score of 1,000, about 200 is for sustainable management, 250 each for social cultural and economic responsibility, and 300 for economic responsibility.

The tourism properties will have to achieve a minimum score in each area to qualify for the classification. Those with scores between 750 and 1,000; 600 and 749; and 500 and 599 will be classified into platinum, gold, and silver, respectively.

Under the sustainable management criterion, approvals, classification from the Tourism Ministry and department, customer satisfaction, realistic promotional materials and service delivery, and management have been included. Policy against child abuse, equity in hiring women, promotion of local art and culture, land procurement and impact on local community, support to community development initiatives, and a code of conduct for management, staff, and visitors will be judged in the socio-cultural responsibility criterion.

Economic responsibility criterion will measure the efforts of the property in contributing towards the economic benefit of the local community, including employment. Under this, the support of local small entrepreneurs and economic contributions to the protection of natural, cultural, and built environment are included. Environment responsibility focusses on energy and water conservation aspects, waste management, and greenhouse gases.

Kerala Tourism, the nodal agency , has been asked to organise training programmes regularly. At the end of the training, the participants will be awarded a certificate giving them the title RT captains.