Kerala keen on hosting UNWTO meet; puts forward proposal

Kerala government’s proposal to host a global meet was put forward to a UNWTO delegation at Madrid.

After having carved a niche in the global travel map in a significant manner, the southern Indian state of Kerala is now keen on playing host to an event charted out by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

The state tourism ministry has expressed its keenness to host a United Nations World Tourism Organisation event on its soil. This comes at a time when the United Nations’ tourism agency has proposed to conduct a workshop in the state later this year.

The UNWTO is the premier global body in the tourism domain. The agency sees tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability, and has been putting forward leadership and support to the travel sector towards enhancing knowledge and policies worldwide.

UNWTO officials invited to the Responsible Tourism summit

The Kerala government’s proposal to host a global meet in the state was made by Kerala Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas during interactions with the UNWTO delegation led by its Asian and Pacific Regional Department Deputy Director Harry Hwang, in Madrid.

Riyas is leading a Kerala delegation at the ongoing 43rd edition of FITUR, the world’s second most important tourism fair in the Spanish capital.

Besides inviting UNWTO officials to the upcoming Responsible Tourism Global Summit in Kerala, the Minister also suggested that the UN tourism agency could consider holding its General Body or an Executive meeting in 2024 in Kerala. Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh was also present during the discussions.

State kicks off global campaign on travel features

The Minister also sought research support regarding the products and sustainable practices to be executed in Kerala. The proposal to host the UNWTO comes in the wake of Kerala kicking off a major global campaign with a bouquet of new products and initiatives to turn the entire state into an all-season experiential tourism destination of diverse choices catering to the tastes of post-pandemic tourists.

Kerala had recently got a massive endorsement with the New York Times listing the state among 52 must-visit places in 2023. Kerala is the only destination from India and listed at 13th spot in the newspaper’s annual list of places to visit.

The global recognition came thanks to the state’s festivals, experiential tourism products and its trendsetting Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative that brought benefits to communities and unfolded the pastoral charm of the state before the tourists.  The state government has adopted an award-winning approach of Responsible Tourism that allows visitors to experience village life while supporting the communities that host them, the NYT has observed.

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