In a country first initiative, Kerala is set to become a fullywomen-friendly tourism destination by implementing a comprehensive project to encouragethe participation of women in all tourism activities and attract more women tourists to thestate, Tourism Minister Shri P A Mohamed Riyas said today.
Launching the state-level ‘Women-Friendly Tourism’ project, an initiative of StateResponsible Tourism Mission (RT Mission), Shri Riyas said Kerala already enjoys thereputation as the safest destination for women tourists.
Noting the significance of the project, Shri Riyas said the state needs a paradigm shift at atime when the world is witnessing a sharp increase in solo trips by women as well as ingroups.
The Minister said this initiative is conceived not just as stand-alone package, but as acomprehensive project to ensure presence of ordinary women in various tourism activitiesand bring more women travellers to the state.
“Through this project, RT Mission ensures safe and hygienic places and tourism destinationsfor 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 key-note address, Deputy Representative, UN Women India, Smt 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 Shri P B Nooh said while ensuring the safety of women tourists, the project will bring about a holistic change in tourism sector.
Shri Nooh 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 Shri K Rupeshkumar, who unveiled the project, said RTMission 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-friendlytourism centres in the state. We have been striving for increasing women’s participation intourism sector by bringing in more common womenfolk from society,” he added.
KTDC MD Smt V Vigneshwari; and Mission Co-ordinator, RT Mission Smt Biji Xavier also spoke.
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/taxidrivers (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.