Around 400 delegates and international speakers will get together in Kochi from March 21 to March 24 at the Le Meridien International Convention Centre to learn about the latest developments and practices in Responsible Tourism.
Speakers from over 20 countries including the UK, Germany, Gambia, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bhutan will discuss wide-ranging topics like local economic development and poverty reduction, taking responsibility for destination sustainability, travel philanthropy and the role of government – national and local.
Minister for Tourism- Kerala, Mr. Kodiyeri Balakrishnan says the choice of Kerala as the venue is a tribute to the State’s Responsible Tourism initiatives. “Kerala has successfully implemented Responsible Tourism practices and is home to several working models of Responsible Tourism practices, contributing to enriching the environment and the local community. I envisage future developments in Kerala taking the responsible path”.
This second international conference on ‘Responsible Tourism in Destinations’ is designed to create awareness amongst operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists to take responsibility and action to make tourism more sustainable. Concerns of those in the tourism industry with regards to the relatively new idea of responsible travel and responsible tourism will be answered by experts who have already implemented many of these new concepts.
Dr. Venu V., Secretary, Kerala Tourism says the conference will provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn about what has been achieved worldwide in Responsible Tourism and how to move the agenda forward in Kerala. “It will help us keep pace with international trends towards best practices and at the same time, gain market advantage. We have clinched participation from prominent international personalities including Dr. Harsh Varma, Director of Development Assistance-UNWTO, Ms. Fiona Jeffrey, Chairman- World Travel Mart, Mr. Renton de Alwis, Chairman-Sri Lanka Tourism Board and Mr. Hiran Cooray, Secretary and Treasurer of PATA, amongst others”.
Delegates will get the chance to visit various sites in Kerala including homestays, heritage precincts, farms and local entrepreneurs as models of responsible tourism practices. Kumbalangi, Fort Kochi, Kumarakom and Mattancherry are some of the places that will be showcased. Operators in the Kerala tourism sector will also share their experiences in making the State a Responsible Tourism destination.
The Conference will be co-chaired by Dr. Venu V., Secretary, Kerala Tourism and Prof Harold Goodwin, Director International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) at Leeds Metropolitan University,
Responsible Tourism in its purest sense is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems. It is an industry that is both ecologically and culturally sensitive.
This conference is a follow up from the first Responsible Tourism Conference held in Capetown, South Africa in 2002. It is organised by Kerala Tourism and the International Centre for Responsible Tourism (India) with India Tourism as partner.