Responsible Tourism is an innovative and revolutionary program launched by the Department of Tourism under the Government of Kerala. The Cape Town Declaration in 2002 led to the systematic planning of how this initiative would be implemented across the state.
The aims of responsible tourism
Responsible tourism has three main responsibilities, which are:
- Environmental responsibility
- Social responsibility
- Economic responsibility
While enhancing the impact of tourism on the environment and on the social and economic factors of the state, it simultaneously seeks to minimize the negative impact of tourism on these very factors.
Results of responsible tourism
Responsible tourism has led to the increased wellbeing (both economically and socially) of the local communities while also preserving and protecting the natural flora and fauna of the local ecosystems. It has also resulted in the conservation of the culture and heritage of the state without it getting diluted by outside influences.
Places where responsible tourism has been initiated
The first places to adopt the principles of responsible tourism were Wayanad, Kovalam, Thekkady, and Kumarakom. The principles are now also being adopted by other places such as Bekal (in Kasargode district), Kumbalangi (in Ernakulam), and Ambalavayal and Vythiri in Wayanad district.
Impact of responsible tourism
The Government of India’s Ministry of Tourism chose Kumarakom for the rural tourism national award as well as the best place for implementing responsible tourism in the state of Kerala. With Kerala fast becoming an international destination of repute, it has set the bar high with the implementation of responsible tourism with other states looking up to it.
The responsible tourism initiative has been taken up by everyone from the micro-level of the panchayat to kudumbashree units up to the state level, ensuring that the aims and principles of this program continue to be successful.