Kerala to host an international conference on gender-inclusive tourism

This October, the event will showcase Kerala’s success in promoting participatory development in tourism through the Responsible Tourism Scheme and address issues faced by women travellers
Kerala to host an international conference on gender-inclusive tourism

Kerala, renowned as God’s Own Country, is set to host an international conference on responsible and gender-inclusive tourism in October 2024. This first-of-its-kind initiative aims to present Kerala’s experience in creating a sustainable and gender-inclusive tourism model to the world.

Kerala, a global leader in responsible tourism initiatives, launched its Responsible Tourism (RT) scheme in 2008 to promote a sustainable and inclusive scheme. The state’s efforts were nationally recognised last year when Kanthalloor in Idukki won India Tourism’s Best Tourism Village Gold Award.

The conference will showcase Kerala’s success in promoting participatory development in tourism through the RT scheme, which has significantly impacted grassroots communities.

The initiative has elevated Kerala as an all-season experiential destination with substantial benefits for local communities. The RT projects have been instrumental in highlighting Kerala’s art, craft and traditional livelihoods, earning numerous national and international honours.

The Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission Society (KRTMS) has evolved into a massive grassroots network with 25,188 registered units, of which 17,632 are either owned or led by women.

So far, approximately 52,344 people have directly and 98,432 people indirectly benefited from its activities, mostly in rural areas. Over 150,000 families are now part of the project, which has resonated well with domestic and foreign tourists

The conclave will also discuss plans to further strengthen the RT movement, which has gained global acclaim. Notable achievements include the RT Mission winning WTM London’s Responsible Tourism Awards for the STREET project in 2022 and the Aymanam RT project in 2021.

Additionally, the RT Mission organises village, agricultural and farm tours, cultural and experiential tours and culinary experiences, helping integrate local communities into the mainstream and conserve the cultural ecosystem.

To enhance gender equality and ensure safe destinations for women, the RT Mission will collaborate with civic bodies and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) in all programs.

The state tourism board aims to address issues faced by travellers, particularly women, with the support of local bodies and women programs offered by the UN.

The details of the forthcoming conference are being finalised in consultation with the tourism department and other stakeholders. CEO of the Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission Society, Rupeshkumar K, emphasised the importance of these discussions in strengthening Kerala’s commitment to responsible tourism.

Kerala Tourism had previously organised the Global Responsible Tourism Summit in Kumarakom in February 2023, which drew significant global attention to the initiative and led to the adoption of the Kerala Responsible Tourism Declaration 2023.

Kerala to host an international conference on gender-inclusive tourism
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