Responsible Tourism– an Introduction
|As mentioned earlier, the backwaters and the scenic beauty of Kumarakom attract millions of visitors from all over the world to the village every year. Hotel and hospitality industry giants have secured land in the village and they reap the economic benefits that tourism has brought to Kumarakom. In short, Kumarakom has grown in an unmatched way as a tourist destination. But the question remains: how far have these benefits of growing tourism reached the residents of Kumarakom?
The ideal approach to tourism is that it should be an industry that acts as an instrument of socio-economic growth while minimizing the negative impacts on the environment. To meet these aims, the government follows the guidelines and the vision of Responsible Tourism, which “creates better places for people to live in, and better places to visit’’ (as per the 2002 Cape Town Declaration on Responsible Tourism in Destinations).
The State Government has selected Kumarakom, Wayanad, Kovalam and Thekkady as pilot destinations to implement the Responsible Tourism initiative. Among these, Kumarakom has come up with many innovative projects and initiatives which ensure the active participation of local bodies, industries, communities and Kudumbasree units (self-help groups of women) to meet all the goals envisaged in Responsible Tourism.