THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Stakeholders in the tourism industry, experts and government representatives gathered in the capital on World Tourism Day on Wednesday to brainstorm ways to make sustainable tourism a tool for development.
The occasion was a seminar titled ‘Tourism Tomorrow @Thiruvananthapuram: The Sustainable Path Ahead’ organised by the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) at Hotel Apollo Dimora.
Addressing the seminar, E M Najeeb, president, Confederation of Tourism Industry, Kerala, said sustainable tourism was a long-term goal which makes a region, place, or a tourism product special.
“Sustainable tourism should recognise the importance of the location. We should preserve its heritage, environmental and cultural wealth. The sustainability values should be incorporated into our business planning,” he told the gathering.
“We should invest in the people and the place. We should market and promote products responsibly, and provide high-quality visitor experiences,” he added. Najeeb also backed the development of Thiruvananthapuram tourist circuit which has a bouquet of attractions such as heritage, history, beaches, backwaters, hills, plantations, ayurveda, medical tourism and knowledge centres.
Need A Re-look at DTPCs
T Balakrishnan, managing director of INKEL and a former bureaucrat who has over 20 years of experience in the tourism industry, spoke on the relevance of District Tourism Promotion Councils in the present times. “DTPCs were not supposed to function as a mere extension of the Tourism Department in the districts. They were intended to be much more,” Balakrishnan said and demanded a thorough re-look at the functioning of various DTPCs.
He suggested appointing a one-man commission to study ways to improve the functioning of DTPCs. Even a study by a reputed agency such as Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is welcome.
“The aim of the DTPCs is not to compete with private sector. If any commercial activity is involved, the management of such initiatives should be handed over to the private sector,” he reminded.
‘Focus on Homestays’
P K Anish Kumar, president. Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India, stressed on the hospitality aspect, which played a key role in ensuring repeat clients for the state.
“Due to the increasing problems related to waste management and to ensure proper hospitality, small and well-managed properties can be the answer. We need to promote homestays and service villas in a big way,” he added.
Waste Management The Key
C N Manoj, managing trustee of Pelican Foundation which offers waste management solutions urged tourism stakeholders to minimise waste by going in for environment-friendly practices such as using refillable water bottles and avoiding plastic.
DTPC secretary Prasanth T V said the seminar was conducted keeping the green protocol in mind. Plastic products were avoided and biodegradable banners were used in the seminar to drive home the point.