Kerala’s Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission has made it to the Global List of Case Studies of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), earning yet another laurel for the State’s innovative programme for grassroots development.

The UNWTO cited that Kerala Tourism has succeeded in upholding the world body’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while promoting the travel industry in the State. Kerala has been cited for employing local resources and products while boosting RT destinations, thus finding resources to implement its objectives towards realising the SDGs.

Congratulating the State RT Mission on the accomplishment, Tourism Minister P.A. Mohamed Riyas said Kerala’s initiative in promoting sustainable and inclusive tourism has been earning international acclaim for a while now. “Tourists across the globe are watching our activities with great interest,” he noted. “The UNWTO’s recognition will further inspire us to promote eco-friendly tourism.”

Kerala’s RT Mission featured among seven G20 countries with Maharashtra being the only other Indian state to figure in the list which cites its Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve project.

The two Indian case studies are among seven G20 countries to figure on the UWTO list: Mexico, Germany, Mauritius, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and Canada, being the others. Kerala RT’s selection to the Special Dashboard has been based on the State’s tourism promotion initiatives in adherence to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Department of Tourism Secretary K. Biju said the international honour will inspire the state to scale-up the RT model and expand it to more areas. “This will also boost local industry,” he added.

Kerala Tourism Director PB Nooh, while recalling the State’s hosting of the first-ever Responsible Tourism Global Summit at Kumarakom in February this year, said the UNWTO Citation had strengthened the presence of ‘God’s Own Country’ on the world tourism map.

Significantly, the UNWTO citation comes close on the heels of the Kerala RT Mission getting the Global Award, acknowledging the sustainable and women-inclusive initiatives successfully promoted in the State.

The award, instituted by the Responsible Tourism Partnership and International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT), is in the ‘Best for Local Sourcing – Craft and Food’ category.

Kerala RT Mission State Coordinator K. Rupeshkumar said these honours endorsed the relentless efforts made by the State RT Mission towards overall socio-economic development amid its tourism-boosting initiatives.