KOTTAYAM: With the government having launched the Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission here on Friday, Kumarakom, the district’s most important tourist centre, has high expectations. The new initiative is likely to give a big boost to the tourism potential of Kumarakom, which is one of the seven centres in state where RT project was launched around eight years ago. If everything goes as planned, the RT Mission will be beneficial to local people and a major source of revenue for more families in the region.
“Our objective is to make Kumarakom a 100 per cent RT destination, ensuring benefits to every family in the village. Presently, around 1,700 families are involved in RT programmes here which will be extended to 6,000 by 2020. It’ll give high value for Kumarakom in international tourism market. We’ve already shifted our focus in this regard and started planning our works for the same,” said K Roopesh Kumar, State RT Mission coordinator.
Till date, local communities in Kumarakom have earned a total revenue of Rs 5.19 crore from RT programmes and it is expected to increase manifold with the implementation of the new mission.
“Though, the revenue from RT was comparatively low till recently, it recorded Rs 1.16 crore in the previous year,” said Roopesh. The important components of RT are the sale of local products like vegetables and handicrafts, opening ‘village-life experience’ packages that provide an opportunity to know about traditional livelihood of people like coir making and toddy tapping, and the performance of cultural groups.
“In the previous year, local people had earned a revenue of around Rs. 65-70 lakh through the sale of vegetables and souvenirs. Village-life experience package and cultural activities brought Rs. 26 lakh and 8 lakh respectively to the local community,” he said.
Tourists should not be squeezed with excess charges: CM
The state wanted a tourism development model which would give thrust to effective waste disposal and management, according to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He was speaking after inaugurating the Responsible Tourism Mission at Kumarakom on Friday.
“The tourist spots and places across the state should be kept clean. At the same time, excess amount should not be charged from tourists for keeping a place clean. It should be a practice by itself. There shouldn’t be any compromise on cleanliness as it would create a bad image on our state among tourists. The tourism department should make enough arrangements to accommodate the tourists coming to the state,” he said.