RT Classification for Hotels and Resorts

Responsible Tourism

Responsible Tourism (RT) is an alternate tourism approach came up during the late 60s/early 70s to address the environmental concerns raised by mass tourism. Responsible Tourism concept is based on three responsibilities - Economic Responsibility, Socio-Cultural Responsibility and Environmental Responsibility - known as 'Triple Bottom Line approach'. But a unified definition for "Responsible Tourism" was declared in Cape Town in 2002 alongside the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Responsible Tourism is about "making better places for people to live in and better places for people to visit." RT encompasses all forms of tourism and seeks to minimize negative economic, environment and social impacts. It generates greater economic benefits to local people and enhances the wellbeing of local communities.

Responsible Tourism Mission

Government of Kerala initiated Responsible Tourism programme on an experimental basis at four select destinations – Kumarakom, Kovalam, Thekkady and Vythiri - in 2008. After reviewing the activities at these four destinations, Responsible Tourism practices had been extended to three more destinations (Bekal in Kasaragod, Kumbalanghi in Ernakulam and Ambalavayal in Wayanad) in 2011 as the second phase. Over the years, Responsible Tourism activities in the State have created linkage between tourism industry and local community in these destinations, helping the community members especially women generate additional income from tourism besides their regular livelihood activities, without having any major investments. Responsible Tourism activities conducted by the government across these destinations have received an overwhelming response. However, the benefits were limited to a small group of people in these destinations.

Subsequently, in 2017, Government critically evaluated the results and impacts of responsible tourism activities for the previous 10 years. After adopting sufficient corrective measures Government declared Responsible Tourism as the Tourism Policy of Kerala and decided to widen Responsible Tourism activities across the state. Later, Responsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission) was formed on 27th June 2017 to lead the RT activities in Kerala as the third Phase of Responsible Tourism implementation in the state. The major deliverables of Responsible Tourism Mission are:

  1. Initiating community level tourism activities
  2. Creating tourism trade - community level linkages
  3. Encouraging adoption of RT principles and practices by tourism trade and other stake holders

Responsible Tourism Classification Scheme for Hotels and Resorts

To promote Responsible Tourism practices in Hotels and Resorts, Government has introduced Responsible Tourism Classification Scheme for Hotels and Resorts. The Classification scheme is based on the three responsibilities of Responsible Tourism concept- Economic, Socio-Cultural and Environmental Responsibilities - and the Sustainable Management practices of Hotels and Resorts.'Responsible Tourism Classification for Hotels and Resorts' has been developed on the basis of Global Sustainable Tourism Criteria (GSTC). The scheme has been introduced vide Government Order, G.O.(Rt) No.225/2011/TSM dated 25.03.2011.

In 2017 Government released RT - based new Tourism policy for the state and extended Responsible Tourism activities across the state through Responsible Tourism Mission. The Responsible Tourism Classification Criteria for Hotels and Resorts has also been revised by giving a thrust to the Environmental Criteria, to promote environmental protection and eco-restoration activities through tourism. Vide Government Order, G.O. (Ms) No. 6/2021/TSM dated 26.02.2021, Government issued revised order for Responsible Tourism Classification for Hotels and Resorts.

The revised 'Responsible Tourism Classification for Hotels and Resorts' classify Hotels and Resorts as:

  • RT Diamond
  • RT Gold
  • RT Silver

RT Green is an additional classification offered in this scheme based on the score in Environmental Responsibility Criteria. Properties scoring more than 80% in Environmental Responsibility criteria will receive RT Green Classification in addition to RT Diamond/RT Gold/RT Silver. No separate application for RT Green category.

Procedure of Approval

Hotels and Resorts interested in getting Responsible Tourism Classification should apply online. Submit the application, download and take a printout of the same. Fee of Rs. 5000/- per Hotel/ Resort should be enclosed with the application form by way of Demand Draft drawn in favour of the Director, Department of Tourism, payable at Thiruvananthapuram has to be submiited to the following address - "The Director, Department of Tourism, Park View, Thiruvananthapuram - 695033".

Inspection Committee will examine the criteria filled by the applicant. Classification will be awarded based on the recommendation of the committee.

Regulatory Conditions

  • Responsible Tourism Classification for Hotels and Resorts is valid for three years from date of issue of the order.
  • Application for reclassification should be submitted three months before the expiry date along with the prescribed fees. Otherwise it will be considered as fresh application.
  • The existing Responsible Tourism Classification will be valid until reclassification, provided application for reclassification is submitted with the required fees three months before the expiry of the existing Responsible Tourism Classification.
  • The Responsible Tourism Classification Certificate of Hotels/Resorts will be issued by the Director, Department of Tourism.
  • Responsible Tourism Classified Hotels/Resorts have to maintain required standards at all times.
  • Director, Department of Tourism or State RT Mission Coordinator or an officer deputed by the Director, Department of Tourism has the right to inspect Responsible Tourism Classified hotel/resort at any time without prior notice.
  • The approval for Responsible Tourism Classification by the Department of Tourism will be withdrawn in case of violation of classification conditions, as and when brought to its notice.
  • Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala reserves the right to modify the guidelines/ terms and conditions from time to time.
  • The classification obtained under this scheme is not a substitute for the license/ sanctions required to be obtained from the authorities concerned under the existing rules and regulations.
  • Responsible Tourism Classified Hotels/resorts have to display Classification certificate visibly.

Inspection committee for RT Classification for Hotels and Resorts

  • Director Tourism/ Representative of Director Tourism - Chairman
  • State RT Mission Coordinator/ Representative of State RT Mission Coordinator - Convener
  • Environment Engineer of Environment and Climate Change Directorate/ Representative of Environment Engineer of Environment and Climate Change Directorate - Member
  • Representative of Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) - Member
  • Representative of Kerala Travel Mart Society - Member

(Minimum three of the above make quorum to constitute the committee)

Click here to submit the Application online

Tutorial Video

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Responsible Tourism Mission
Department of Tourism, Government of Kerala, Park View, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India - 695 033   E-mail: rt@keralatourism.org
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