Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala on Thursday unveiled a policy for the tourism sector, Tourism Policy 2017, for the first time and proposed setting up a state Tourism Regulatory Authority (KTRA) to ensure quality of services and curb unhealthy practices in the sector. The policy also proposed increasing the participation of differently-abled and transgenders in activities undertook by Responsible Tourism Mission.
The Kerala Tourism Regulatory Authority would act as the supreme authority and would be responsible for monitoring the functioning of different stakeholders.
The Kerala Tourism would also revise the classification system for Ayurveda centers, houseboats and other services with strict norms. A special rating would be introduced for hotels based on the quality of service provided.
“There is an immediate need to improve the infrastructure facilities across various destinations of the state. The new policy aims to address the key issues of the tourism industry in cooperation with the local bodies such as waste management and renovation of roads,” tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said during the policy launch.
“Following the Responsible Tourism Mission, Kerala Tourism has guided all the regional bodies and authorities concerned to implement and follow the Green Protocol at all the destinations of Kerala.”
To woo investors
The state would also set up an investment cell to help potential investors, especially NRIs. Kerala Tourism has plans to develop select locations with public-private participation (PPP) on the lines of the Jadayupara Tourism Project. The department would also promote monsoon tourism among domestic and international travelers.
While promoting experiential tourism, Kerala Tourism would provide the travelers with an opportunity to experience the rural life for the raw traveling experience. To achieve this the department has proposed establishing 1,000 new classified homestays.
“With the aim to implement ‘Barrier Free Kerala Tourism’ this year, Kerala Tourism has planned to initiate new infrastructure development projects in order to create accessible and friendly spaces to the differently-abled, elderly tourists and transgenders,” P Bala Kiran, director of Kerala Tourism said.
“The priority has always been to promote Responsible Tourism with an active participation of the local bodies and citizens. The new policy would continue to focus on these two main objectives of Kerala Tourism,” said Dr Venu V, principal secretary of Department of Tourism.
“The sole objective is to double the foreign tourist arrivals and increase domestic tourist arrivals by 50 per cent, by 2021.”
Keeping this agenda in mind, Kerala Tourism plans to associate with various international events hosted by the state such as the International Film Festival of Kerala, book festival, and music festival. A special campaign for promoting major festivals would be launched, while an advance festival calendar would be published.