The tourism department is planning to extend the second phase of Participation for Planning and Empowerment through Responsible Tourism (PEPPER) project to 12 more centres. More nature friendly tourist development programmes have been planned for the second phase.
The project would ensure income for those who are directly or indirectly dependent on tourism including farmers, handicraft manufacturers, traditional workers, artists, farm stay, home stay entrepreneurs and tour guides. Tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran launched the e-brochure and distributed certificates to beneficiaries of the project.
The project will initially be implemented in two rural self-governing bodies in Vaikom and later in other centres. Around 11,532 units have been setup under the project between August 2017 and October 2018.
It was implemented with an aim to alleviate poverty, empower women and develop rural areas through tourism. Rs 5.35 cr revenue was generated during this period.
The mission implemented 477 packages in a year and around 30,422 tourists arrived in selected villages of Kerala. This helped traditional workers raise a revenue of Rs 48 lakh, the minister said.
By next month, a Kerala responsible online network will be setup to sell the products of responsible tourism mission units. An artist directory and online human resource directory integrating workers from different sectors will also be launched.
Previously, the responsible tourism mission had carried out a survey of agricultural produce and handicrafts in various regions. The Kerala model of responsible tourism that benefits those directly and indirectly involved had received global recognition.
Tourism models that do not affect the natural ecosystem have been developing all over the world. In this model, nature will not be affected while local residents will be the major beneficiaries.
The mission was widely accepted by villagers as it helped the common man reap its benefits. With the development of responsible tourism, the green tourism in Kerala would also be enhanced.