50 adventure tourism centres in Kerala to be upgraded
Thiruvananthapuram: Fifty major adventure tourism centres in Kerala would be upgraded to meet national and global standards, tourism minister Kadakampally Surendran said here on Monday.
The minister's announcement came during the roll out of a set of comprehensive safety and security regulations to position Kerala as a prime secure and hassle-free destination for adventure-loving holiday makers and nature buffs.
He also launched an Online Accreditation Portal to provide registration for qualified Adventure Activity Providers (AAP), based on guidelines drawn up by the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), under the state tourism department.
The validity of the registration is for two years.
Noting that Kerala Adventure and Activities Based Tourism Safety and Security Regulations set guidelines for conduct of 31 land, water and air-based activities, the minister said Muzhappilangad (Thalassery), Kaapil (Varkala) and Vagamon (Idukki) would be designated as adventurous tourism centres.
"A proposal to set up adventure parks in all districts is also under the consideration of the government, as per the availability of land," he said.
Listing five ways to develop adventure tourism, he said the basic infrastructure in existing adventure tourism spots has to be developed, which should be followed up by identifying and developing new spots, promoting public-private projects and creating a circuit connecting adventure tourism centres and branding.
Currently, KATPS, in association with the Forest Department, is conducting activities in forest areas, he said.
"Soft adventure parks have already been started in Veli, Kollam Asramam, Thenmala, Karlad in Wayand and Kottappuram.
Preparations are in the final stages in Munnar to start paragliding activities.
Besides, an Adventure Tourism Academy will be set up at Sasthampara near the state capital," the Minister added.
Presiding, Tourism Secretary Rani George said that except desert based activities and snow-capped mountain activities, Kerala has all the potential to emerge as a top adventure tourism destination.
"Approval has been given for commencing a training course in adventure tourism at the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS), in association with private tour operator Muddy Boots," she added.
The guidelines were evolved by an Experts Committee, which mostly focused on 31 adventure tourism activities.
While doing this, the panel had also taken into account the Adventure Tourism Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tourism.
The guidelines lay emphasis on essential parameters for activity providers like having proper license as prescribed by the state or central government norms, deployment of qualified personnel,including well-trained activity leaders with hands-on experience, use of quality equipment and knowledge of First Aid and safety and risk mitigation ability.