Women-friendly tourism destination tag next on Kerala agenda
Kerala aims at achieving women-friendly tourism destination status by implementing a comprehensive project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the state
In what could perhaps be the first ever initiative in the country, Kerala has lined up measures to become a fully women-friendly tourism destination. This, the state intends to achieve by implementing a comprehensive project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the state.
As part of the initiative the state-level ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project, which is part of the State Responsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission), was unveiled by Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas. According to the minister, Kerala already enjoys the reputation as the safest destination for women tourists.
Elaborating on the significance of the project, Riyas said the state needs a paradigm shift at a time when the world is witnessing a sharp increase in solo trips by women as well as in groups. The new initiative is conceived not just as stand-alone package, but as a comprehensive project to ensure presence of ordinary women in various tourism activities and bring more women travellers to the state.
RT mission to ensure women-friendly tourism
Through this project, the Responsible Tourism Mission would ensure safe and hygienic places and tourism destinations for women tourists. The all-women tour packages will be controlled and operated by women, including food, accommodation, transportation and community guides.
At a one-day workshop organised as part of the project, Kanta Singh, Deputy Representative, UN Women India, said creating a safe, reliable and hygienic infrastructure that addresses the needs of women is vital while implementing the project. UN Women will sign an MoU with RT Mission regarding gender inclusive tourism, she said. Kerala Tourism Director P B Nooh said while ensuring the safety of women tourists, the project will bring about a holistic change in tourism sector. He called for more debates to evolve solutions for the problems regarding safe journey of women, besides encouraging solo trips by women.
State Co-ordinator of RT Mission K Rupeshkumar, who unveiled the project, said RT Mission has been implementing a series of schemes for women empowerment through tourism. Currently, around 80 percent of RT Mission units are led by women.
Seeks participation of women from all sections of society
RT Mission is involved in various basic activities to create exclusive women-friendly tourism centres in the state. We have been striving for increasing women’s participation in tourism sector by bringing in more common womenfolk from society, he added.
The objectives of RT Mission include establishing women-friendly tourism centres and women empowerment. The project is implemented ensuring the participation of women from all sections of society. Through the project, RT Mission aims to create a network of women’s units and tourism centres manned by women. The project will also ensure that tourism destinations in the state are fulfilling the needs of women tourists.
As part of taking the initiative to all districts, RT Mission will provide training to selected women to work as tour coordinators, story tellers, community tour leaders, auto/taxi drivers for guest handling, homestay operators and in various other sectors like souvenir creation. All basic infrastructure will be made available for the project, which will have a monthly evaluation process, led by the Tourism Minister.