Thiruvananthapuram: Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission units, which have become a major instrument for providing benefits of travel and hospitality to the common people and also stood solidly behind the authorities during the recent calamitous floods, will be honoured by the state government at a function here on Saturday.

The Kerala government will felicitate the state’s farmers, handicrafts makers, artists, entrepreneurs of farm-stays as well as homestays and tour guides who are either directly or indirectly part of the RT Mission that was launched in October last year. They will be given away certificates in recognition of their valuable contributions at the function. Kerala’s Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran will distribute certificates.

K Muralidharan, MLA, will preside over the function, where Kerala Tourism Secretary Rani George will release the RT e-brochure. The other speakers will be Thiruvananthapuram Municipal Corporation councillor Palayam Rajan, Kerala Travel Mart Society President Baby Mathew Somatheeram, Abraham George and E M Najeeb, both members of National Tourism Advisory  Council, and Kerala Tourism Advisory Committee member P K Anish Kumar. RT Mission coordinator K Rupeshkumar will present a report.

RT, which has 11,532 units under it generating an income of Rs 5.82 crore in the inaugural year of operation, has carried out an array of projects over the last one year with poverty alleviation, women empowerment and local area development as its major objectives. The mission has benefited 21,000 people directly and 32,000 others indirectly.

The RT mission units have been of particular support in reviving tourism after a loss and slide it suffered since the August floods.  The units have spread operations to places across the state, including remote belts of upstate Kannur and Kasargod districts, besides the key RT spots of Kumarakom, Thekkady and Wayanad.

Increasing participation of foreign tourists has made RT noticeable, with 42,000 of them visiting various Kerala villages under the package in the past one year. The RT Mission’s initiatives have already fetched Kerala Tourism several international recognitions, including the maiden gold medal at the prestigious World Travel Market in London earlier this month.

By Manoj

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