Kerala Tourism’s attempt to revive and promote the two millennia-old ‘Spice Route’ has received big support from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) that has expressed interest in taking up it as a mega project.Kerala Tourism’s plan to develop and promote a multi-national spice-themed route, modelled on the Silk Road was presented by Mr. Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism during the 6th International Meeting on Silk Road Tourism at Dunhuang (Gansu, China).
“Kerala Tourism’s Spice Route initiative is a mega project that the UNWTO could take up. By reviving the Spice Route, we will be able to respect a significant heritage shared among as many as 31 countries by facilitating people from around the world to once again travel the route, used by traders for over 2000 years,” said Mr. Xu Jing, UNWTO’s Regional Director (Asia and Pacific) referring to the presentation.
A heritage tag for the Spice Route is needed as it is essentially a journey through places that connected Kerala’s with the West. The project envisages linking the State, from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod, through the spice route and to rekindle interest among the modern travellers to undertake voyages and excursions once it takes off. Kerala Tourism is also trying to link the Spice Route with the Muziris Heritage Project, at the ancient port town of Kodungalloor and nearby areas in Central Kerala, which were the focus of India's spice trade with West Asia and Europe.
India is still considered the home of spices because of the quality of the commodity in the country, especially the spices of Kerala. Of the 70 spices grown globally, 47 are cultivated in India according to the International Organisation for Standardisation.
“The project will also give more opportunities in tourism, historical research, and spice trade,” said Mr. Suman Billa, Secretary, Kerala Tourism.
Apart from attracting more tourists to the unexplored sites in Kerala, the project is expected to benefit the spice trade especially in cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, cloves, ginger, turmeric, coriander, cumin, nutmeg and tamarind across the State.