KOCHI: With the government looking to give thrust to heritage tourism in the state, the Spices Route Project may be renamed as Pepper Route Project.
A delegation consisting tourism minister, finance minister, tourism secretary and other officers will travel to New Delhi to hold a meeting with Unesco representatives to strengthen the heritage project in Kerala.
Though launched in 2014 in coordination with Unesco, the Spices Route Project was revived recently as talks were held to bring in countries that maintained trade links with Kerala to be a part of the project.
“During a discussion with Unesco representatives, there was a suggestion the project’s name be changed to Pepper Route Project. As most foreign ships came to Kerala in search of pepper, we also think Pepper Route will be an apt name as there are other Spices Route projects across the world. Discussion in this regard has begun,” a senior Tourism Department officer said. The officer said the meeting with Unesco is scheduled for March 14.
“The discussion about the MoU already signed between Unesco officers and the tourism secretary on Spices Route project will be held. Muziris Heritage Project (MHP), which is coordinating the project, has sent a report to revise the MoU giving more importance to research and knowledge sharing between countries as part of the project. The discussion will also be held to take up more heritage projects in the state,” the officer said.
In his budget speech, Finance Minister Thomas Isaac declared that Ponnani and Thankassery will be included in the Spice Route Project. Muziris Heritage Project (MHP) was made a model project to develop other heritage sites in the state.
Last year, MHP was tasked to overlook the development of Alappuzha and Thalassery heritage projects as part of Spices Route Project. “The preliminary work to identify heritage sites at Ponnani and Thankassery that can be developed under Spice Route project has been carried out. Our team visited Ponnai and Thankasserry twice. We will file a report to the government detailing the work to be carried out at Ponnani and Thankassery,” said MHP managing director P M Nowshad.
Work for maintaining heritage sites and other infrastructure development at Alappuzha and Thalassery have also commenced.“We are looking to declare the completion of Muziris heritage project in the next one year. In the next two years, work related to Alappuzha and Thalassery are expected to be completed,” he said.
“Already, we have found trails of 31 countries having links with Kerala port cities. With the development of heritage sites, the huge number tourist from abroad will come to Kerala to visit these sites,” said Nowshad.