UNWTO Chief launches Kerala’s Responsible Tourism campaign

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Trivandrum: United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Secretary General Taleb Rifai launched the three films showcasing the life-changing experiences under the State’s Responsible Tourism initiative at the ongoing World Travel Market (WTM) in London on November 5. Kerala Tourism Minister, Shri A P Anil Kumar and Tourism Secretary, Suman Billa were present on the occasion.

Introducing the films at a special session of the WTM, the UNWTO Secretary General said that Kerala has placed Responsible Tourism at the core of tourism development since 2007 and is indeed an inspiration for the country. “Kerala has transferred the power of tourism into a force that improves livelihood, projects nature and builds bridges between cultures.”

Directed by Anwar Rasheed, the minute-long films depict how the Responsible Tourism initiative, which links the local community with the hospitality industry, is helping to empower the people and improve their lives while conserving nature.

The films conceived by Stark Communications and produced by the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies, the nodal agency for Responsible Tourism in the State, were premiered in the presence of more than 400 invitees, representing the Who’s Who of travel and trade industry in the world.

“It is a proud moment for Kerala,” said the Minister, who spoke at the premiere hosted by WTM Show Director, Simon Press. “The films show the world how our model of sustainable tourism is generating more employment opportunities in our villages.”

In January this year, Kerala Tourism had won the UNWTO’s coveted Ullysses Prize for excellence in pioneering global sustainable tourism models for its Responsible Tourism project in Kumarakom. It was the first time an Indian tourism board had won the prestigious prize.

“Our experience in practising Responsible Tourism is an eye opener for other tourism destinations across the world,” said Suman, referring to the launch of the films by UNWTO. “These films, inspired by true stories will motivate others to follow Responsible Tourism for growth and development while practising environment-friendly tourism.,”

The World Travel Market, held from November 3-6 in London, was attended by over 5,000 exhibitors from around the world. Kerala Tourism is a regular participant at the WTM, London with its themed stall drawing a large number of industry representatives.

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