Trivandrum: Kerala Tourism’s much-praised responsible tourism model in Kumarakom linking local community to the hospitality industry has won the National Award for Best Rural Tourism Project. Kerala also bagged the honours in three other categories at the National Tourism Awards for 2011-12.
The Best Wellness Centre award went to Somatheeram Ayurveda Resort in Chowara near Thiruvananthapuram while Pioneer Personalised Holidays won in the Best Approved Inbound Tour Operator and Travel Agent category. Kumarakom picked up two more awards for Vivanta by Taj in the Best Four Star Hotel category and Coconut Creek Farm and Home Stay, Kumarakom for Bed and Breakfast Establishment.
Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa received the National Tourism Award for the Best Rural Tourism Project from the President Shri Pranab Mukherjee at a glittering ceremony held at New Delhi on Monday.
“The National Award for Kumarakom is a recognition of the best practices in responsible and eco-friendly tourism,” said Kerala Tourism Minister Shri A P Anil Kumar. “The credit goes to the people of Kumarakom who made it sure that the project became a huge success through their participation.”
Under the Kumarakom Rural Tourism Project, the Kerala Tourism has forged partnerships with Kudumbashee to sell fruits and vegetables to tourists in kiosks run by its units and with hotels and restaurants in the area to buy produces from the local community.
“The Kumarakom Rural Tourism Project has shown to the world how to care for the nature even while running a massive tourism infrastructure,” said Suman Billa. “The only way forward for tourism is through community participation,” he added. Besides bringing economic benefits to the local community, the Kumarakom model has also ensured eco-friendly practices in disposing of waste.
“The National Award will certainly inspire the stake holders in the travel and tourism sectors to follow responsible tourism practices,” said Kerala Tourism Director Rani George. “The success of the Kumarakom project shows that we have to respect the nature and be responsible to it.”
The National Tourism Awards are given away every year by the Union Tourism Ministry to recognise excellence and pioneering initiatives in the tourism industry.
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