State’s Responsible Tourism Mission bags global award

State’s Responsible Tourism Mission bags global award

Kerala has bagged the Global Responsible Tourism Award 2023, in a major endorsement of the sustainable and women-inclusive initiatives successfully promoted by the State’s Responsible Tourism Mission (RTM).

The award is instituted by Responsible Tourism Partnership and International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) in the best for local sourcing, food, and craft category.

The State’s RT Mission was selected for the award, the most valued honour being given for sustainable and inclusive tourism initiatives, for linking women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tourism activities and for ensuring effective marketing of indigenous products. The London-based organisers selected Kerala RTM as a joint winner along with Eswatini, a land-locked country in Southern Africa, which is noted for the eco-friendly Ngwenya Glass, says a release issued by Kerala Tourism.

“This international award reflects the universal appeal of the Responsible Tourism projects that Kerala implemented, thereby setting a viable model for the rest of India as well as other countries,” said Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas. The crux of this model is that it helps conserve nature, as well as tangible and intangible heritage, while bringing substantial benefits to local communities, he added.

The Kerala RT Mission has been implementing women-friendly tourism projects in the State with the support of UN Women, the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment. This is the second time that Kerala RTM is getting the Responsible Tourism Global Award. Its Water-STREET project implemented at Maravanthuruthu in Kottayam district got the honour last year. With this award, RTM registers hat-trick this year as it had earlier got two other prestigious awards — ‘Gold’ award of the Government of India and Gold award of the ICRT. Around 25,000 households benefit from RT Mission activities in the State.

The award jury recognised the work of the RTM in promoting the ethnic and traditional foods of each locality through tourism, providing authentic local food experiences enjoyed in local homes for tourists, besides generating additional income for the local communities. The RTM’s activities such as women-friendly tourism project, experiencing ethnic cuisine project, experiential tourism packages, marketing of products including local handicrafts, training for local community and other projects being implemented in association with local self government institutions were considered for the award.

The Global Responsible Tourism Awards, which cater to Africa, India and Latin America regions, were given in six categories including the best for tackling plastic waste, best for meaningful connections, best for local sourcing, food and craft, addressing climate change, best for diversity and inclusion, and the best for nature-positive tourism.

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