Sensing the immense and innumerable possibilities of promoting Kerala as a destination for ‘Adventure and Activity based Tourism’, the State Tourism Department is focusing on developing new projects to utilise the same, said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran.
Inaugurating a one day workshop organised by the department to give shape to its tourism policy, the Minister said that the need and time has come for the tourism department to evolve itself to cater to the needs of activity and adventure based tourism from now on.
While the primary focus at the workshop had been to find new possibilities to take adventure tourism forward in the state, the minister has stressed on the need to work closely and in coordination with the Forest Department to realize the goals in the adventure tourism sector.
Kerala Tourism is currently planning to re-brand itself and find new avenues to take the sector forward in order to double the tourist arrivals by 2021. Keeping this in mind the department will now start a new ‘Tourist Circuit’ based out of North Kerala and will shift focus from areas it had been concentrating all this while to specifically give thrust to Adventure Tourism with the sole aim of attracting more youngsters to the state.
Reiterating the commitment to responsible tourism the minister said that the state government has a definite stand in this regard which will be part of the Tourism Policy that the government will table at upcoming session of the state assembly.
Environmental protection and raising the standard of living among the local population are the two primary objectives that the government will focus on as part of responsible tourism. The government will encourage and support new investors in the field of tourism and had called up more such close associations to take the tourism sector in the state to the next level.
Speaking at the workshop, Dr. Venu Vasudevan, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism opined that the cooperation and coordination with the Forest Department is of paramount importance for the growth of adventure tourism in the state and that this could be achieved without violating any of the existing environmental laws.
Mr. P. Bala Kiran, IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism said that for the first time in the history of Kerala Tourism the numbers of the in-bound foreign tourists have swelled beyond 1 million and that domestic tourists arrivals have touched 1.38 crores.
Those who took part in the workshop were Additional Chief Conservator of Forests Dr. Amit Malik IAS, Tourism India Managing Director Ravishanker KV, Rajeev Anchal, Member of the Executive Council of Adventure Tour Operators Association of India Dr. T Samuel, Kerala Tourism ADG Jaffer Malik IAS among others.
A theme paper on setting up the new draft policy on Adventure Tourism needed in Kerala was presented by Dr. Samuel.