Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala on Friday bagged the prestigious Global Responsible Tourism Award 2023, for its sustainable and women-inclusive initiatives successfully promoted by the state's Responsible Tourism Mission.
State Tourism Minister P A Mohammed Riyas said the state won the award instituted by the Responsible Tourism Partnership and International Centre for Responsible Tourism (ICRT) in the 'Best for Local Sourcing - Craft and Food' category.
"The State RT Mission was selected for the award, the most valued honour being given for sustainable and inclusive tourism initiatives, for linking women-led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to tourism activities and ensuring effective marketing of indigenous products," Riyas said in a release.
The London-based organisers selected the Kerala Responsible Tourism Mission as a joint winner along with Eswatini, the erstwhile Swaziland, a landlocked country in southern Africa, which is noted for eco-friendly Ngwenya Glass.
Riyas said the international award reflects the universal appeal of responsible tourism projects that Kerala has successfully implemented, thereby establishing a viable model for the rest of India as well as other countries.
"The crux of this model is that it helps conserve nature and tangible and intangible heritage, while bringing substantial benefits to local communities," the minister added.
He said the Kerala RT Mission has been implementing women-friendly tourism projects in the state with the support of UN Women, the UN organisation dedicated to gender equality and women empowerment.
This is the second time Kerala RTM is getting the Responsible Tourism Global Award, after its Water STREET project implemented in Maravanthuruthu in Kottayam district bagging the honour last year.
"The award jury recognised the work of the RTM in promoting the ethnic and traditional foods of each locality through tourism, providing authentic local food experiences enjoyed in local homes for tourists, besides generating additional income for the local communities," the Tourism Department said in a release.
The Global Responsible Tourism Awards, which cater to Africa, India and Latin America regions, were given in six categories including Best for Tackling Plastic Waste; Best for Meaningful Connections; Best for Local Sourcing - Craft and Food; Addressing Climate Change; Best for Diversity and Inclusion and Best for Nature-Positive Tourism.