Thiruvananthapuram: Founder and Director of International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) Harold Goodwin on Monday said that at the destination level Kerala is now a long way ahead and has emerged as the world leader in Responsible Tourism (RT).
Speaking at the International Symposium on "PEPPER Project and Experiential Tourism Packages" organized by State Responsible Tourism Mission and Department of Tourism here, Mr. Goodwin said that places like South Africa, Gambia and Barcelona are doing a great deal in the Responsible Tourism sector.
"But the community participation in the state is a unique element. RT provides access for people with disabilities and socially disadvantaged people. It transforms negative elements into beneficial factors that elevate the lives of the local population. The aspiration of RT is to use tourism rather than to be used by it," he said.
"RT is about taking responsibility for achieving sustainable development through tourism. It is characterized by transparency.
Kerala involves local people in the decision-making process than in any other part of the world," he added.
People's Participation for Participatory Planning and Empowerment through Responsible Tourism (PEPPER) was launched in the state in November 2017.
He also stressed the need for strong private sector engagement and multi-stakeholder partnerships for the growth of RT. According to Mr. Goodwin , experience for money is becoming more important than value for money in the present.
"Kerala offers authenticity, which is a powerful stream in consumer desire, at a higher degree in RT sector. Quality and depth of the experiences create memories that lead to viral marketing," Mr. Goodwin said.