'Community-stakeholder participation will benefit local population', Tourism Minister

Launches two-month-long Green carpet campaign for upkeep of state tourist destinations

While Kerala Tourism spends money on a destination, it is stakeholder and community cooperation in its continued maintenance that will ensure the local population benefits from this investment, said Minister for Tourism Shri A.C. Moideen, who launched the tourism department’s Green Carpet initiative in the capital today.

The multi-agency participatory campaign, which starts today and runs until October 31, has roped in tourism and trade stakeholders, local self-government bodies, varied programmes such as the National Service Scheme (NSS) Technical Cell under the Directorate of Technical Education, Suchitwa Mission, Kudumbasree, educational institutions, NGOs and other social organisations for its implementation.

"We hope the initiative can help create a feeling that the community can contribute and benefit from the tourism industry," said the Minister, speaking at the launch event at Mascot Hotel. Shri Moideen also unveiled the campaign logo and released three tourism shorts: on wildlife, Kochi and Munnar.

Everyone has to work together to build up tourism in the state, as it is set to be the most financially viable industry for Kerala – with the scope for remittances from the Gulf coming down, noted Shri K. Muraleedharan MLA in his presidential address.

"Our main challenge is to get local cooperation in waste management," he said. "We have to build up awareness about the setting up of waste management plants and we have to take practical measures to tackle the challenges we face."

Tourism Secretary Dr Venu V. expressed hope that the initiative would light the spark for more projects built with active public participation.

Green Carpet has a 10-point agenda aimed at spurring collective action to improve the quality of infrastructure and amenities at 84 holiday hotspots and working towards building a sustainable destination management system.

The 84 destinations were identified through a consultative process, said Tourism Director Shri U.V. Jose. “Tourism is always a multi-stakeholder, public participation sector and the aim is to build a sustained system, rather than to do a maintenance job on one day,” he said.

High on the priority actions list are measures to improve community and collective participation in destination development, operation and management and the appointment of designated destination managers for effective centralised co-ordination and management. At the destination level, task forces and monitoring cells are being put in place to ensure the initiative’s success.

The agenda for action addresses ground-level concerns including waste management, infrastructure, safety and sustainability and clearly marks out what needs to be achieved before November 1, when the tourist season officially gets underway.

Included in the agenda are goals for a clean and hygienic environment; installing a scientific and sustainable system for solid waste collection and management; proper and regular maintenance of public toilets; and safer drinking water and food.

It also requires destinations to have in place well-maintained lighting and pathways; appropriate signage, all necessary tourist facilities and equipment, besides ensuring adoption of green principles and moving towards carbon neutrality.

Other key areas addressed in the checklist are: safety and security arrangements backed by a contingency response system; facilities for provision of up-to-date information, feedback and complaint redressal systems; well-trained and responsible staff, including volunteers and service providers, fitted with distinguishable name badges.

Also present at the launch were Suchitwa Mission Executive Director Dr K. Vasuki, KITTS Director Dr Rajashree Ajith, Ward Councillor Shri Palayam Rajan, President of the Confederation of Kerala Tourism Industry Shri E.M. Najeeb, KTM Society President Shri Abraham George and Additional Director (General) Kerala Tourism Shri Balamurali.