Kerala to host meet on Responsible Tourism

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Thiruvananthapuram, Mar 1 (UNI) As many as 400 delegates from various countries will meet in Kochi from March 21 to 24 to discuss the latest developments and practices in Responsible Tourism.

Speakers from 20 countries, including the UK, Germany, Gambia, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Bhutan will discuss a wide-range of topics like local economic development and poverty reduction, taking responsibility for destination sustainability, travel philanthropy and the role of government, State Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said today.

He said the choice of Kerala as the venue was a tribute to the state's Responsible Tourism initiatives.

''Kerala has successfully implemented Responsible Tourism practices and is home to several working models of Responsible Tourism practices, contributing to enrichment of the environment and the local community. I envisage future developments in Kerala taking the responsible path,'' he added.

The second international conference on 'Responsible Tourism in Destinations' is designed to create awareness among tourism operators, hoteliers, governments, local people and tourists.

Kerala Tourism Secretary V Venu said the conference would provide an excellent opportunity for participants to learn about what had been achieved worldwide in Responsible Tourism and how to move the agenda forward in Kerala.

''It will help us keep pace with international trends towards best practices and at the same time, gain market advantage. We have clinched participation from prominent international personalities, including Dr Harsh Varma, Director of Development Assistance UNWTO, Ms Fiona Jeffrey Chairman World Travel Mart, Mr Renton de Alwis, Chairman-Sri Lanka Tourism Board and Mr Hiran Cooray Secretary and Treasurer of PATA,'' he said.

The conference is a follow up of the first Responsible Tourism Conference held in Capetown, South Africa in 2002.

UNI CR DS RN1607

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