At least 500 tourism destinations to identified by Kerala in four years via the Destination Challenge
Efforts have been rolled out to identify at least one tourism destination with potential in every local self-government institution in Kerala. The ambitious move is part of the state Tourism Department’s ‘Destination Challenge’ project.
Launched in collaboration with the Local Self-Government Department (LSGD), the project aims at developing tourism by ensuring the participation of the Local Self Government Institutions (LSGIs) right from the village panchayat level.
The state government has accorded administrative sanction of Rs 50 crore for the implementation of the project. M V Govindan, Kerala’s Minister for Local Self-Government, who switched on the ‘Destination Challenge’ web portal, said the initiative will help LSGIs find financial resources, besides explore a lot of unexplored destinations to bring them on the tourism map.
Destination Challenge to help LSGIs to be self-reliant
Apart from providing civic services, LSGIs have to grow to new levels to become self-reliant. We need to plan projects that enable comprehensive growth. Tourism is an ideal sector for panchayats, municipalities and corporations to become job providers and also attain financial stability, he added.
Noting that ‘Destination Challenge’ is a new step forward by Kerala Tourism, PA Mohamed Riyas, Minister for Tourism, said that the government is planning to develop at least 500 tourism destinations in four years, by way of the novel project.
The project has been conceived as part of the efforts by the Department of Tourism to develop a new tourism culture in the state, and bring about a significant change in four years. Marketing campaigns will also be stepped up as part of the initiative.
In the first phase of year 2022, the state had registered a sharp increase in arrival of domestic tourists, with the number touching 38 lakhs. The ‘Destination Challenge’ is expected to help develop tourism circuits in LSGIs and thereby attract more domestic tourists further.
Kerala Tourism to bear 60% of project cost
Local Self Government Institutions will be able to submit the details on the potential areas that can be developed and promoted as tourism destinations on the project portal. The Department of Tourism will bear the 60 percent – a maximum Rs 50 lakh – of the total project cost, while the Local Self Government Institutions will have to find the rest of the amount either from their own funds or through sponsorship.
Besides identifying at least one destination under each Local Self Government Institution, the initiative envisions linking tourism activities with various projects of LSGIs and thereby giving an impetus to domestic tourism, which has gained popularity post the pandemic.