Kerala, God’s Own Country, is a symphony composed on the strings of beauty and a land endowed with a myriad of boons and bounties. The rural life in Kerala, untouched by the mighty hands of industrialization and much of the repulsive transformation of urban sophistication, offers a taste of paradise to travellers. The serene backwaters, swaying coconut farms, soothing paddy fields, everything makes the village life of Kerala a memorable experience. Far from the tumult and turmoil of the cities these villages usher us into a world where contentment and peace prevail.
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Responsible Tourism (RT) is mainly conceived with three kinds of responsibilities which are termed as the ‘triple bottom-line’ economic responsibility, social responsibility and environmental responsibility. Though the concept of responsible tourism was there right from 1996, it was after the Cape Town Declaration of 2002 that a detailed picture of responsible tourism – including its aims, and factors evolved. RT encompasses all forms of tourism and seeks to minimize negative economic, environment and social impacts. It generates greater economic benefits to local people and enhances the wellbeing of local communities. It also makes positive contributions to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage, and maintenance of the world’s diversity.
Kerala has emerged as one of the prime tourism destinations on the national and international map and is considered as the tourism trendsetter in the country. The availability of plenty of natural resources, skilled manpower, supportive entrepreneurial community, strong local-self-governments, civil society organizations, multitude of micro enterprises, streams of professionals and academicians, responsible media and responsive tourism industry, provide the state an ideal setting to implement and practice ‘Responsible Tourism.
The initiative was first implemented an four destinations, including Kovalam, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Wayanad. Among these destinations Kumarakom was honored by Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India for the best Responsible Tourism initiative in Kerala and it also bagged the national award for rural tourism. Other significant destinations now pursuing this initiative include Kumbalangi in Ernakulam, Vythiri and Ambalavayal in Wayanad and Bekal in Kasaragod.