As an article in today’s Hindu (23.03.12) comments, at the recent meeting of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Kerala’s brand of sustainable tourism, with eco-friendliness and inclusiveness as its mainstay, has been hailed as 'a model for India' with equally great potential for replication across the globe.
The accolades for the Responsible Tourism (RT) model came at a recent meeting of UNCTAD in Geneva, which brought together experts, policymakers and diplomats as well as representatives of international organisations and civil society.
"Kerala has become a model for tourism development for the entire India," said Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary General of UNCTAD.
Addressing the meeting, Suman Billa, tourism secretary for Kerala, said the state had turned tourism into a driver of economic growth without compromising on ecology and by integrating the interests of local people.
While four pilot destinations - Kumarakom, Kovalam, Wayanad and Thekkady - were chosen for implementing RT practices in 2007, the next year saw the philosophy spread to Malabar with the opening of Neeleshwar Hermitage.
As the pioneers of eco-friendly tourism in this part of the state, we at The Hermitage are all very happy to see the policy get the international recognition it deserves.
"A tranquil and peaceful property integrating the local community into tourism, maintained quite naturally giving a feel of Kerala. Also, pioneering the development of tourism in the northern part of Kerala. A good venture on the part of the owners of the property" says Rani George, Director Kerala Tourism.