THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan on Saturday made a strong plea to effectively utilise the advanced global trends in safety and security to reassure confidence in the minds of tourists.
He also wanted to develop a 'customer monitoring system' devise rooted in their safety concerns.
"We have to take extra care to see that crimes, including drug trafficking and terrorism, do not hamper our efforts to ensure safe destinations for tourists," he said.
The Governor was speaking after inaugurating a two-day International Conference on Global Trends in Tourism Studies to commemorate the Pearl Jubilee of the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS), an autonomous institution under the state government.
Pointing out that niche tourism products like pilgrim circuits, eco and adventure were promoted in the last one decade, Khan said the success of any venture in tourism depends on how well the advanced global trends in safety and security are utilised.
In this context, he asked the government to devise a safety-induced 'customer monitoring system.'
Referring to the floods in the last two years, the Governor said rebuilding of tourist destinations has to start by revitalising the areas in the Western Ghats as it is a major determinant of tourism in the state.
He suggested that Kerala should follow the global trend of rebuilding of destinations through Destination Management Organisations, which would be active throughout the year.
Khan said this rebuilding has to be done through the use of state-of-the-art technology.
Pointing out that Kerala Tourism had registered a very strong global presence, the Governor said Kerala's success in tourism was scripted by a combination of nature's bounty, cultural wealth and the people's readiness to share with the world the beauty of the land's heritage.
State tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said the government would take steps to make KITTS a centre of research, besides creating world-class trained manpower.
Pointing out that the tourism sector was a major generator of jobs, he said more employment opportunities could be generated by encouraging private participation.
The Responsible Tourism (RT) movement in Kerala has contributed jobs not only to unemployed youth but also to sections like farmers and housewives.
"The philosophy behind RT is to generate benefits to local residents," he added.
UNWTO Deputy Director Mr Guk Hwang praised Kerala's tourism initiatives, especially the Responsible Tourism activities carried out by KITTS as the nodal agency when it won the UNWTO Ulysses award and said the state is one of the most sought after tourism destinations on the planet.
Tourism Secretary Rani George traced the evolution of tourism in Kerala since it was declared an industry in 1986.
"The launch of Responsible Tourism in 2008 has helped connect the travel trade and the government to the community," she observed.
KITTS Director Dr Rajashree Ajith presented the report, in which she recalled the milestones achieved during the last 30 years.