People Friendly Tourism policyThe Kerala government has initiated a people friendly tourism policy, which plans to evenly distribute the benefits of this industry among all sections of the society and not just a handful of capitalists, opined the Tourism Minister of Kerala, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. A new tourism policy is on the anvil aimed at removing the monopoly of big players in the field.

Speaking on the inauguration of a Tourism Information Centre of Kerala in Kolkata he said that the style of functioning of the Tourism Department will be optimized to bring betterment in the lives of traditional workers. These days the bigger pie of the tourism industry is enjoyed by the influential and the elite. More emphasis would be laid on the conservation of nature.

Kerala has always been famous for its lush green paddy fields and stunning coconut gardens. However, with increased urbanization, land mafia and the real estate sharks have gobbled up a major chunk of these rich lands to make room for sprawling supermarkets and shopping malls. This has also posed a series of serious ecological problems such as the plummeting ground water table and drinking water shortage. A new piece of legislation against land filling of paddy fields would ensure more teeth to the law enforcing authorities to prevent encroachments of cultivable land.

Foreign tourists come to Kerala to enjoy its pristine landscapes and ethnic arts and crafts and by showcasing these natural treasures further impetus could be provided to the flourishing tourism industry of Kerala. For instance, by promoting the sale of coir or coconut products, the traditional coconut farmers would be greatly benefited.

With homestays and rural tourism in Kerala grabbing the headlines of international tourist brochures, preserving the natural treasures and richness of village attains all the more importance. Striking a perfect balance to retain the traditional charm of the yore, while embracing the changes of future holds the key to a tourist friendly Kerala. The younger generation should be motivated to preserve the exceptional heritage and legacy of Kerala instead of trampling these treasures in the mad chase of modernity and consumerism.

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