Kerala is set to become women-friendly tourism destination
Kerala launches a project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the State
In a country-first initiative, Kerala is set to become a fully women-friendly tourism destination by implementing a comprehensive project to encourage the participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to the state, Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas said on Wednesday.
Launching the state-level ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project, an initiative of the State Responsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission), Riyas said Kerala already enjoys the reputation as the safest destination for women tourists.
Noting the significance of the project, Shri 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 Minister said this initiative is conceived not just as a stand-alone package, but as a comprehensive project to ensure the presence of ordinary women in various tourism activities and bring more women travellers to the state.
“Through this project, RT Mission ensures 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” he said.
The Minister also inaugurated a one-day workshop organised as part of the project.
Delivering the keynote address, Deputy Representative, UN Women India, Kanta Singh, 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 PB Nooh said while ensuring the safety of women tourists, the project will bring about a holistic change in the tourism sector.
Nooh called for more debates to evolve solutions for the problems regarding the 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.
“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 the 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, storytellers, community tour leaders, auto/taxi drivers (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.
Workshops on “Women-Friendly Travel: How Kerala should Prepare?” and “Responsible Tourism: A Way of Women Empowerment” along with the presentation of the framework on future activities was held at the event.