Kerala could emerge as global leader in sustainable tourism: Goodwin

 Monday, February 27, 2023 


As destinations gradually recover from the pandemic blues, the need for the tourism industry to reconstruct itself in a more sustainable and responsible manner becomes stronger, The Hindu daily reports.

Harrold Goodwin, known as the “Father of Responsible Tourism,” cites Kerala as one of the best instances of re-evaluating objectives towards responsible tourism. He expressed his delight at how the state has transformed itself while keeping its experiences as local as possible, and built a reputation for itself, with publications such as the New York Times naming it one of the greatest locations to visit.

“While tourism has not picked up in some places, it’s booming again in Kerala and has moved very quickly. It stands as a testament to the cooperation that RT establishes between communities and businesses,’’ he said.

Mr. Goodwin, founder and chairman of the International Centre for Responsible Tourism, as well as an adviser and jury chairman for the World Travel Market, is in Kumarakom for the first Global Responsible Tourism Summit.

Mr. Goodwin, who played a key part in transforming Kerala into a responsible tourist destination, believes the state, which adopted sustainable tourism in 2008, might emerge as one of its worldwide leaders.

“I was quite surprised when Kerala expressed interest in bringing RT. That, however, did not become a big challenge as the business here from the beginning was dependent upon the local community. This is a place where tourists are going to come and engage with the community and their experience will be determined by the community. It was a different approach and for that reason, it worked really well,’’ he explained.

According to him, the state’s stance on sustainable tourism has shifted significantly over time as a result of its experiences.

“It’s no longer about attracting foreign tourists but about all those who come, enjoy and spent significantly,” noted Mr. Goodwin.

Regarding the prospects of RT in India, Mr. Goodwin stated that more Indian states are looking to what Kerala has accomplished and how Madhya Pradesh has carried this experience forward.

“I had a meeting with the Tourism Secretary in New Delhi earlier this week on what RT has to offer to India as a national destination. While it is for the Ministry concerned to decide whether RT is suitable as a strategy for the country, I see the upcoming G20 meeting in India as an opportunity for the country to take more interest in RT and tourism in general,’’ he added.

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