Global RT Summit Delegates Experience Kerala’s STREET Project

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By Amit

The Global Responsible Tourism Summit was held at scenic village of Maravanthuruthu in Kerala from February 25-28. The four-day conclave vowed to implement proposals to boost the state’s vital travel and tourism industries. As part of the event, 42 speakers visited Kerala Tourism’s pioneering STREET project in scenic Maravanthuruthu, located 25 km north of Kumarakom. Comprising foreign and Indian delegates, the team received a warm welcome to the accompaniment of an ethnic Chendamelam ensemble at the experiential tourism site with its sprawling backwaters.

Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission Coordinator K. Rupeshkumar welcomed the guests in the presence of Gram Panchayat President K B Rama and Vice-President V T Prathapan. The visitors interacted with the local communities, after which cultural programmes were presented in the spirit of the government’s imaginative project named STREET.

About the STREET Project

The project, conceived by the Responsible Tourism Mission, is inspired by the ‘Tourism for Inclusive Growth’ slogan of The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). STREET is an acronym for Sustainable, Tangible, Responsible, Experiential, Ethnic, Tourism hubs. Inaugurated 10 months ago, Maravanthuruthu is the first STREET hub.

At the launch of the project, Tourism and Public Works Minister P A Mohammed Riyas had said that the project offers a huge potential for growth in the tourism sector and would usher in significant changes. “It aims to present the unique identity of our state before travellers. It will foster mutually beneficial organic relationships between tourism development in the state and the ordinary lives of people,” he added.

The Event At Maravanthuruthu

The visiting team on Tuesday comprised Dr Harold Goodwin (UK), Glynn O’Leary (South Africa), Christopher Warren (Australia), Charmarie Maelge (Sri Lanka), Shubham Agnihotri (Taiwan) and Sarah Hansburg (Austria), among the 12 delegates from abroad. From India, the guests included officials from the Tourism Department, and tour operators from 14 states.

From Maravanthuruthu, the team was escorted five kilometres southward to Kulasekharamangalam village, where they were accorded a warm welcome with a traditional panchavadyam percussion concert. The team members enjoyed their engagements with kayaking and riding on local boats such as the shikara and kutta. The folksy Garudan Parava dance added colour and vibrancy to the event. The delegates also participated in several arts and crafts activities, such as braiding coconut palm leaves, weaving mats, and twining coir.

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