KOCHI: The Tourism Department on Friday signed an agreement with the UNESCO, marking a historic cooperation between the State and the world’s foremost cultural organisation in promoting and protecting the ancient Spice Route heritage.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard was signed between Tourism Secretary Suman Billa and Shigeru Aoyagi, director and representative to UNESCO India, in the presence of Tourism Minister A P Anil Kumar and Kerala State Planning Board vice-chairman K M Chandrasekhar.
The MoU seeks to formulate a framework of cooperation in the protection and promotion of the cultural heritage of the State.
“The Spice Route Project is a new milestone in the growth of tourism in Kerala. It is the revival of the ancient Spice Route that connected 31 countries,” said Anilkumar.
He said that for the success of the project, it needed support from all the 31 countries. “That is why we have sought the cooperation of the UNESCO,” he added.
Under the agreement, the Spice Route initiative of the State Government will form the bedrock of the cooperation and partnership between the two sides.
The government and the UNESCO will mobilise bilateral and multilateral collaboration with the other countries involved in the ancient spice trade. “By taking the initiative to bring together all the countries that were once part of the historic spice trade with Kerala, we are aiding the people of Kerala to become partners in development,” he said.
Shigeru Aoyagi termed the agreement with Kerala Tourism as ‘a major landmark for UNESCO’.
Several historical areas of Kerala that are linked with the ancient Spice Route, including urban areas, will be developed under the agreement. Under the agreement with the UNESCO, several heritage projects related to the Spice Route will be designed and implemented in the State, besides undertaking surveys and studies; bringing out joint publications; conducting seminars and workshops; and initiating capacity-building activities.