In a massive affirmation of its exemplary activities aimed at promoting Responsible Tourism during the challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic, Kerala Tourism has been bestowed the coveted ‘Highly Commended’ Award by World Travel Mart London.
Kerala’s Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission received this recognition in the category of ‘Meaningful Connections’.
The RT Mission received the award for its innovative work on ‘Wok at Home Videos’ and storytelling audio and video series produced and presented by various Mission units in the state during the pandemic that has posed multiple challenges to the tourism sector.
The Work at Home Videos have been developed by RT Mission entrepreneurs with a message to stay home safely during the lockdown but not to despair and to adopt measures to effectively prevent the spread of the COVID-19. The videos also make an impassioned appeal to the tourists visiting Kerala to see their activities as soon as the pandemic-triggered issues are brought under control.
“The award proves that the RT Mission is becoming a driving force in sharing innovative ideas and ensuring public participation in the tourism sector,” said Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran.
Tourism Secretary Smt. Rani George said the Mission has played a significant role in the tourism sector during the pandemic. “This is a morale-boosting recognition that celebrates the best-in-class of global travel and tourism industry,” she added.
Tourism Director Shri P. Bala Kiran congratulated all the RT Mission unit members in Kerala for this sterling achievement and sustaining tourism activities in the most adverse circumstances.
The RT Mission had instructed the members of various units to wash their hands with sanitizer or soap and start their work. They were presented as a video document to engage them during the lockdown period. Besides becoming a marketing tool, it also became an instant hit in national and international platforms. This was followed by storytelling audios about each area and its festivals, followed by the videos on various traditional musical instruments and other folk art forms.
State RT Mission Coordinator Shri K Rupeshkumar said the Mission received a total of 1,048 audios and videos, all of which were produced and edited by the unit members. These were viewed by thousands of people through various social media platforms. During the World Folklore Day, these videos were aired at the ‘Folkkathone’ programme for 90 minutes.
“The uniqueness of this recognition is that the RT Mission units are proving that life-affirming activities need to be presented live without exaggeration to be evaluated and recognised by the world,” he added.
The award jury said it was the most popular intervention in the world to give confidence to entrepreneurs and tourists who are reeling from the epidemic. “The move sends a message that any crisis can be overcome by working with one mind,” it noted.
This is the 5th International Award for the Responsible Tourism Mission since its formation in 2017. The Mission has also won three National Awards.
There are currently 20,017 units operating in Kerala under the Mission with more than one lakh beneficiaries as part of its activities. The units under the mission earned revenue of Rs 35 crore in three years. One of its salient features is that 80 per cent of the total units are headed by women. The Mission, which also runs 140 experiential tour packages, has so far imparted training to 7,000 people. Also, 48 new tourism destinations have sprung up through the Mission's flagship projects Pepper and Model RT Village.
Kerala Finance Minister Dr T M Thomas Isaac has launched Green Innovation Fund, a six-month fund-linked accelerator programme for social impact startups, as a joint initiative of Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), HarithaKeralam Mission and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India.
Along with the Finance Minister, Ms. Shoko Noda, the Country Representative of UNDP, India, was also present in the online launch event. She gave a special address on UNDP’s role in leveraging Innovations for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Green Innovation Fund (GIF), seeks to support startups working Startups working on SDG goals (Climate change related) by giving them Grant and technical support.
In his address, Dr Isaac said, “There are a whole lot of areas which are waiting for some innovative interventions, especially in the high range belts, which are prone to larger and diverse vulnerabilities. GIF is an ambitious experimentation to leverage technology to bridge gaps which may be arduous through our traditional way of working.”
He mentioned how some municipalities in Kerala transformed into a more enterprising mode by embracing technology.
GIF is a cohort-based fund-linked acceleration programme where startups will be selected based on the compatibility of their products with the identified problem statements from the high range landscapes. It seeks to address some of the most pressing issues facing the vulnerable high range communities through innovation.
In her special address, Ms Shoko said: “By combining modern technology like artificial intelligence and drones with traditional wisdom of communities, we are working to improve management of natural resources, reduce negative impacts upon the environment and promote green jobs. The launch of the GIF as part of the India High Range Mountain Landscape project is a step in this direction.”
In her presidential address, Ms T N Seema, Vice Chairperson, HarithaKeralam Mission, said the outbreak of COVID-19 had made it very clear that our health, our society and our economy not could be separated from nature.
MrSasi PM, CEO, KSUM, said: “As climate change brings in exponential changes in the environment there is an urgent need to develop innovative products, services, businesses, organizational models which will bring in sustainable development through behavioural changes and new business models. There is a need to nurture and develop such ideas which could redefine sustainable enterprises in a structured manner.
The issues that the GIF will seek to address are recurring natural disaster, human-animal conflict, sustainable tourism, sustainable agriculture, waste management, water andenergy issues etc. Startup selected for the programme are eligible for fund uptoRs7 lakh. The application window for the selection of startups to first Cohort of GIF will be live from November 8 to December 10.
The GIF is part of the GoI-GEF-UNDP India High Range Mountain Landscape project (IHRML). The IHRML Project is a small attempt towards mitigating the effects of climate change and other threats faced by the ecologically fragile landscape of Anchunad and adjoining areas through building an effective collaborative governance framework for multiple-use management.
With the able guidance and leadership of HarithaKeralam Mission and the Kerala State Forests and Wildlife Department at the state level, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) at the national level, the project activities were kicked off in the 2019-20 Financial Year.
A session to clarify doubts regarding the application process of GIF and problem statements listed will be held on November 12 at 4pm.
For more details, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
KSUM is the nodal agency of the Kerala Government for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities in the state.
In a major green initiative, Kerala Tourism has launched a project to create Miyawaki model micro forests at 22 tourism spots in 12 districts across the state.
Inaugurating the project by planting a sapling at Shanghumukham Beach here last night, State Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said more than 30,000 saplings would be planted in about two acres of land identified for the scheme.
Creation of micro forests that compare well with natural forests would make the tourist destinations in the state, especially those in urban areas, environment friendly, the Minister noted.
Pioneered in 1970s by botanist and plant ecologist Dr Akira Miyawaki of Yokohama National University, Japan, the micro forestation model seeks to expand the green cover on the earth by nurturing mostly indigenous species of plants in small patches of land. A Miyawaki model forest can attain growth within five to ten years, whereas a natural forest takes 25 to 30 years to gain the same level of growth.
The model has been replicated across continents, especially among communities where the pressure on land is heavy. It has proved effective in fending off ill-effects of environmental degradation and climate change by conserving biodiversity, saving plants from extinction, shielding communities from natural disasters and serving as a bulwark against atmospheric and noise pollution.
Apart from foliage-rich trees that make tourism spots eco-friendly, saplings of medicinal and fruit-bearing plants as well as rare indigenous species are planted under the project.
Shri V S Sivakumar MLA presided. Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George IAS, Director of Tourism Shri P Bala Kiran IAS, Shri K G Mohanlal, CMD Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Ltd (KTIL) and Prof V K Damodaran, Chairman, Nature’s Green Guardian Foundation, were present.
Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan today released a Coffee Table Book on Thiruvananthapuram with a collection of images by eminent photographer Raghu Rai for Kerala Tourism as part of the capital city heritage project.
A stunning visual treat, Thiruvananthapuram-An Artist’s impression explores the city’s culture, heritage and life through a fascinating collection of shots viewed through the lens of Raghu Rai, coupled with graphic descriptions by writer Lekshmi Rajeev.
This is a fantastic work that has tapped fully the mesmerizing power of photography to capture the images of the city, the Chief Minister said while releasing the compendium through video-conference.
State Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran, who presided over the function held at Mascot Hotel, said this outstanding work would add considerable strength to the capital city heritage project. Dr Shashi Tharoor MP and Raghu Rai joined the ceremony online.
City of festivals, it was an unforgettable experience to capture the images of Thiruvananthapuram with its vibrant life and culture, Rai said, adding he has plans to write a book on Kerala.
A visual statement on the city, the 190-page work encapsulates its history, culture and heritage. While most similar collections have their emphasis on nature, this work has its accent on human life in the city.
Apart from the capital city, the Tourism Department has been implementing heritage projects to protect and preserve historical and cultural assets of Alappuzha, Muziris and Thalassery, Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George IAS said.
Shri M Vijayakumar, Chairman KTDC, Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran IAS, Smt V K Karthika, Editor & Publisher Amazon Westland and Smt Lekshmi Rajeev attended the function.0
Kerala is opening its beaches, parks and museums for domestic tourists from November 1, marking resumption of tourism activities in full swing ahead of the annual tourism season, after remaining shut for eight months following the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.
In the first phase, tourist destinations and services across the state were reopened on October 10, by strictly adhering to a comprehensive set of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to ensure the safety of visitors.
The services that started receiving guests on October 10 included house boats on backwaters and personalized boating and adventure tourism spots, which have controlled access and it is easy to implement the SMS (Social distancing, Mask and Soap Sanitizer) norms. Hill stations were also thrown open, signaling the revival of the revenue-generating industry.
“Beaches of Kerala have always attracted visitors from all corners of the world on account of their unsurpassed beauty, warmth of waters and cleanliness. It is significant that we are re-opening our beaches, including globally famed sea-side destinations like Kovalam, when the annual tourist season is round the corner” State Tourism Minister Shri Kadakampally Surendran said.
“The response in destinations and services that resumed operations early this month has been encouraging, with the footfall gradually increasing. The stake-holders have extended their total co-operation to see that all safety parameters are followed. The visitors are also complying with the guidelines issued by the State Government,” said Tourism Secretary Smt Rani George IAS.
“As we re-open our beaches, Tourism Department officials on the ground are making extra efforts to ensure that the specific guidelines are followed to the last detail,” said Tourism Director Shri P Bala Kiran IAS.
As part of safety parameters for beaches, which do not have controlled access, directions have been issued to ensure that officials are deployed at the entry points, walkways and open areas, equipped with thermal check, sanitizers and hand-wash facilities. Boards prominently featuring “Dos’ and ‘Don’ts’ are being put up and walkways, hand-rails and shelters will be sprayed with sanitisers at regular intervals.
Tourism police personnel will be posted, if necessary, to help Kudumbashree volunteers and Life Guards. A register will be kept at the entry for recording details of visitors.
For parks and museums, online ticket /SMS booking will be explored to the extent possible at the gated entries. Vehicles will be allowed to be kept at the parking areas to maximum one hour. A register will be kept at all entry points for entering visitor’s name, native place, contact number and time and date of the visit.
Strict instructions have been issued for street vendors to follow COVID-19 protocols. Cleaning and fumigation of toilets and restrooms will be taken up at regular intervals.
As per the SOP issued by the Government earlier, the visitors to the state will have to follow Break the Chain norms including wearing of masks, use of soap and sanitizer and follow social distancing.
Tourists coming for visits of less than seven days are exempted from quarantine but they should register in COVID Jagratha portal. If visitors plan to extend their stay for more than seven days, they have to undergo test at their cost on the 7th day at ICMR/ state government approved laboratories. The visitors are advised to avoid travel if they are symptomatic.
Hospitality facilities, tour operators, tourism transport operators and other services such as hotels, resorts, house boats, ayurveda centres, homestays, service villas and adventure activity centres were instructed to strictly go by the SOPs.