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Safety and Security of Tourists Must be a Priority: Governor

In Business, Kerala, Travel
October 03, 2019

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan today made a strong plea to effectively utilise the advanced global trends in safety and security to reassure confidence in the minds of tourists and to also devise a ‘customer monitoring system’ rooted in their safety concerns.

“We have to take extra care to see that crimes, including drug trafficking and terrorism, do not hamper our efforts to ensure safe destinations for tourists,” he said, while inaugurating a two-day International Conference on Global Trends in Tourism Studies to commemorate the Pearl Jubilee of the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS), an autonomous institution under the Kerala Government.

Pointing out that niche tourism products like pilgrim circuits, eco and adventure were promoted in the last one decade, Khan said the success of any venture in tourism depends on how well the advanced global trends in safety and security are utilised. In this context, he asked the government to devise a safety-induced ‘customer monitoring system.”

Referring to the floods in the last two years, the Governor said rebuilding of tourist destinations has to start by revitalising the areas in the Western Ghats as it is a major determinant of tourism in the state. “Kerala must go with the global trend of rebuilding of destinations through Destination Management Organisations, which will be active throughout the year,” he advised.

Khan said this rebuilding has to be done through the use of the state of the art technology. He lauded the KITTS for ensuring cent per cent placement and its networking with global agencies to offer consultancy in skill development for tourism initiatives.

Pointing out that Kerala Tourism has registered a very strong global presence, the Governor said Kerala’s success in tourism was scripted by a combination of Nature’s bounty, cultural wealth and, above all, the people’s readiness to share with the world the beauty of the land’s heritage.

In this context, he said any discussion on the global trends in tourism has to be firmly rooted in the Indian concept of tourism, which sees the guest as God. “The Upanishads place the guest at par with the mother, father and the Acharya,” he pointed out.

In his presidential address, Kerala Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran said the government would take steps to make KITTS a centre of research, besides creating world-class trained manpower. Pointing out that the tourism sector is a major generator of jobs, he said more employment opportunities could be generated by encouraging private participation.

He said the Responsible Tourism (RT) movement in Kerala has contributed jobs not only to unemployed youth, but also to sections like farmers and housewives. “The philosophy behind RT is to generate benefits to local residents,” he added.

UNWTO Deputy Director Guk Hwang praised Kerala’s tourism initiatives, especially the Responsible Tourism activities carried out by KITTS as the nodal agency when it won the UNWTO Ulysses award, and said the state is one of the most sought after tourism destinations on the planet.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George, in her welcome address, traced the evolution of tourism in the state since it was declared as an industry in 1986. “The launch of Responsible Tourism in 2008 has helped to connect the travel trade and the government to the community,” she observed.

KITTS Director Dr Rajashree Ajith presented the report, in which she recalled the milestones achieved during the last 30 years.

V S Sivakumar, MLA; M Vijayakumar, Chairman, Kerala Tourism Development Corporation; Vidya Mohan, Corporation Councillor; IATO Senior Vice President E M Najeeb; Kerala Travel Mart Society President Baby Mathew; and KITTS Director Dr B Rajendran also spoke.