Local self-government bodies in Kerala are set to become the most vital undertakers of tourism with the onset of the innovative ‘Destination Challenge’ that encourages civic administrations to locate and develop at least one travel destination within their boundary, State Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas said today.
“Destination Challenge strives to explore locations that have tourism potential, but had remain ignored,” he said after inaugurating the pioneering STREET project in Thrithala of this district, marking the state-level launch of the Kerala Tourism initiative that promotes travel into the rural hinterlands. “Maintaining such locations by ensuring that they are income-earning will make the newly-developed places good assets.”
At the function presided over by State Assembly Speaker M.B. Rajesh, the Minister said the present government’s aim was to make tourism projects people-centric by involving the local population. “For that, the Responsible Tourism Mission’s STREET project will be a catalyst. The administrators of such endeavours will also be their protectors,” he said at the gathering at DTPC Park in Velliyankallu, 70 km west of this city.
Kerala Tourism’s STREET, which is the acronym for Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic, Tourism hubs, is being implemented in ten locations of the state with UNWTO’s ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ as the slogan. In Palakkad, the spot comprises the adjacent villages of Thrithala and Pattithara.
Speaker Rajesh, who is also the MLA from Thrithala, said tourism was no more about just seeing, but has instead become experiential. “The new attitude is to see tourism as a mix of the arts, culture, life and agriculture,” he added.
The other places that are poised to implement STREET projects are in the districts of Kozhikode, Kannur, Kottayam, Idukki and Wayanad.
The STREET project will bring in tourism initiatives that suit the culture and topography of the region. These include green street, cultural street, ethnic cuisine/food street, village life experience/experiential tourism street, agri-tourism street, water street and arts street.
The project, under the Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM), will ensure that its implementation retains the normalcy of the villages and maintains its ecology well. The idea is to introduce travellers to rustic Kerala while also fetching income to the residents.
E.T. Mohammed Basheer, MP, was the chief guest. Palakkad District Collector Mrinmay Joshi delivered the keynote address at the function, where District Panchayat President K. Binumol delivered a felicitation speech. RTM State Coordinator K. Rupeshkumar welcomed the gathering, while District Tourism Promotion Council Secretary Silbert Jose proposed thanks.
Kerala Tourism Deputy Director S. Anilkumar and RTM Palakkad District Coordinator Arun Kumar addressed the function, which was attended by functionaries of local civic bodies besides tourism officials.
A panchavadyam ensemble and folk music featured at the event.
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