In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country, Kerala is set to become a fully women-friendly tourism destination by implementing a comprehensive project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the state, the Tourism Minister Mr P. A. Mohamed Riyas has said. Launching the state-level ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project, an initiative of State Responsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission), Mr Riyas said Kerala already enjoys the reputation as the safest destination for women tourists.
Noting the significance of the project, Mr Riyas said the state needs a paradigm shift at a time when the world is witnessing a sharp increase in solo trips by women.
“Through this project, the state RT Mission ensures safe and hygienic places and tourism destinations for women tourists. The all-women tour packages will be controlled and operated by women in all sectors, including food, accommodation, transportation and community guides,” he said.
The Minister also inaugurated a one-day workshop organised as part of the project.
The Deputy Representative of UN Women India Mr Kanta Singh said creating a safe, reliable and hygienic infrastructure that addresses the needs of women is vital while implementing the project. UN Women will sign an MoU with the RT Mission regarding gender-inclusive tourism, she said.
The Kerala Tourism Director Mr P. B. Nooh said while ensuring the safety of women tourists, the project will bring about a holistic change in the tourism sector.
The State Co-Ordinator of the RT Mission Mr K. Rupeshkumar, who unveiled the project, said RT Mission has been implementing a series of schemes for women’s empowerment through tourism. Currently, around 80 percent of RT Mission units are led by women. “We have been striving for increasing women’s participation in the tourism sector by bringing in more common womenfolk from society,” he added.
KTDC MD Ms V. Vigneshwari and Mission Co-Ordinator, RT Mission Ms Biji Xavier also spoke at the function.
Through the project, the RT Mission aims to create a network of women’s units and tourism centres run by women. The project will also ensure that tourism destinations in the state fulfil the needs of women tourists.
As part of taking the initiative to all districts, the RT Mission will provide training to selected women to work as tour coordinators, storytellers, community tour leaders, auto/taxi drivers (Guest Handling), homestay operators and in various other sectors like souvenir creation. All aspects of basic infrastructure will be made available for the project, which will undergo a monthly evaluation process, led by the Tourism Minister.
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