Kerala Tourism signs historic agreement with UNESCO

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Kochi: Kerala Tourism has signed an agreement with UNESCO to begin a historic cooperation between the State and the world’s foremost cultural organization in promoting and protecting the ancient Spice Route heritage.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Kerala Tourism Secretary, Suman Billa, and UNESCO Director & Representative to India, Shigeru Aoyagi, in the presence of Shri A P Anil Kumar, Minister for Tourism, and K M Chandrasekhar, Vice Chairman, Kerala State Planning Board. The MoU seeks to formalize a framework of cooperation in the areas of cultural heritage protection and promotion in the state.

“The Spice Route project is a new milestone in the growth of tourism in Kerala. It is a revival of the ancient spice route that connected 31 countries. For the project to be successful, it needs the support from all the 31 countries and that is why we have sought the cooperation of UNESCO,” said the Minister while addressing a press conference after the MoU was signed.

Under the agreement, the Spice Route Initiative of the State government will form the bedrock of the cooperation and partnership between the two sides along with protection of promotion of historical areas of Kerala. Both Kerala and UNESCO will also mobilize bilateral and multilateral collaboration with the other countries involved in the ancient spice trade.

In his remarks, Shigeru said, “The signing of the agreement with Kerala Tourism is a major landmark for UNESCO. We are very happy to work with the Government of Kerala, particularly on this project that seeks to preserve the cultural heritage of India. The Spice Route Project has great potential for promoting world peace and inter faith tolerance, apart from contributing to the sustainable development of the countries involved. In the long run, UNESCO aims to put the Muziris Heritage Project and the Spice Route Project on the World Heritage list.”

Several historical areas of Kerala linked with the ancient Spice Route, including urban areas, will be developed under the agreement to promote the aim of heritage building.

The Spice Route tours, which will be promoted in a big way internationally, are expected to give a spurt to foreign tourist arrivals in Kerala. The State is also expected to witness a conference of Ambassadors related to the Spice Route countries.

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