Kerala state to brand autorickshaw drivers as tourism ambassadors soon

The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has also initiated efforts to identify more drivers to be deployed in other tourist destinations in the district.
Image used for representational purposes only
Image used for representational purposes only

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Close on the heels of an announcement by Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas, efforts are in full swing to make auto-drivers the brand ambassadors of Kerala Tourism.Sources said the initiative will be piloted in the Wayanad district and will be operational from April 1.

The tourism department has already given training for around 100 auto drivers from Wayanad. Vythiri, Ambalavayal and Sultan Bathery are the three locations which have been identified for the project.

The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has also initiated efforts to identify more drivers to be deployed in other tourist destinations in the district. According to official sources, the initiative would help boost the local economy and also help ensure cost-effective transportation for visiting tourists.

“Wayanad is one of the most visited destinations in Kerala, and the tourist spots here are all scattered, some even in remote locations. Tourists often come in private vehicles or taxis because of poor public transport connectivity. Autos would be of great help here,” said secretary Ajesh KG, DTPC, Wayanad. “Families, senior citizens and backpackers can traverse comfortably in autos. Branding autos as a tourism product will lend a unique experience,” he added.  

The official said that more capacity-building programmes will be organised to inculcate more auto drivers into the tourism industry. “Communication would be a major challenge, but we have decided to ride over the crisis. We will be developing a QR code which would be stuck on these autos by way of which one can get all the information about destinations. More intensive training would be given to the drivers next month, and we plan to launch the project by April 1,” Ajesh said.

According to a senior tourism department official, future locations for the project will be identified on the basis of the number of accommodation units and the popularity of the destination. “By next month, we will come up with a plan. The department is planning to develop tourism corridors in the state. Autos will be key then to facilitating movement on these corridors. The entire concept will be announced soon,” the official added.

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