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Minister Kadakampalli Surendran inaugurates Responsible Tourism Mission Onam Packages

Minister Kadakampalli Surendran inaugurates Responsible Tourism Mission Onam Packages

The project - “Nattinpurangalil Onam Unnaam, Onasammanangal Vangam” integrates rural households and small businesses to take part in tourism business to let tourist enjoy Authentic Onam celebrations from villages

Thiruvananthapuram, 30th August, 2017: Responsible Tourism Mission, a project under Kerala Tourism with the objective of participatory development with the local community in tourism centres was inaugurated by Kadakampalli Surendran, Minister for Tourism. Minister announced various Onam packages by Responsible Tourism mission to be executed this season. He also added that package will continue to be available till September 30th.

Minister unveiled the “promotional video and concept card of the Festive theme “Nattinpurangalil Onam Unnaam, Onasammanangal Vangam also at the Press conference.
The project named “Nattinpurangalil Onam Unnaam, Onasammanangal Vangam” comprises various onam packages for tourists by integrating small enterprises run by the local community and responsible tourism units. This project will help interested local families to welcome tourists to their homes and treat them with Onasadya and to let the tourists participate in household Onam celebrations.

“The government policy is to ensure income for local community through tourism sector and we are hopeful about the new venture. All the projects executed by Responsible Tourism mission is aimed to be beneficial to the local community as well as in line with nature. Government has allotted and sanctioned Rs. 4.5 Crore for the new venture” said Minister Kadakampalli Surendran. “A human resource directory is being prepared to provide jobs to people across the state. We are getting tremendous response for the packages in the initial phase itself and we are planning to extend the project to all 14 districts further. We also intend to be able to attract more tourists to visit us in the next Onam season inspired by these attractive package and plans”. A firsthand experience to the fraternity about the functioning of responsible tourism projects will be a good know how of the mission and its motives, he added.

The project is aimed to introduce the traditions and festivities of Onam to travellers. This is for the first time, Tourism Department is providing an opportunity for the tourists to know Onam, participate in its celebrations, enjoy Onasadya, watch Onakalikal and take part in them. Both foreigners and natives will equally benefit from the project.

“The new responsible tourism project aims to share the authentic experience of Onam to travellers from the villages of Kerala. With responsible tourism mission, the domestic as well as international tourists will experience the tradition and culture of Kerala villages while the local community will benefit from the tourism business. Started in 7 destinations, the project will be extended across the state in the coming season. So far, as many as 126 households, 63 home stays and 34 restaurants have come forth for the package. Around 650 families across the destinations have registered to explore the feast Onasadya. Also, we hosted around 170 international tourists and 146 domestic tourists under Onam packages of responsible tourism” said P Balakiran IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism. He added that Kerala Tourism will shift its entire business to responsible tourism model in the way ahead.
The project model is designed to promote and encourage small enterprises such as Homely meals restaurants, local tea shops and hotels and to encourage travellers to spend in organic vegetables, Khadi textiles, locally, handicrafts and traditional dishes and other locally made products. The project being readied by the RT mission can provide a sizeable income to tourism entrepreneurs as well as small merchants and traditional artists. The project will be extended to the coming seasons also.
The project which focuses in and around the destinations such as Wayanad, Kovalam, Kumarakam, Vaikom and Bakel, has two stages. The first part named “Onam special Gramayatrakal” (Onam special village tours) intends to introduce the rural belt of Kerala to the tourists during Onam seasons.  Along with guided tours to the villages, tourists can buy Onam gifts from the responsible tourism ventures in the area. Important tourist centers from each area which are desired by national and international tourists as well as local and NRI Malayalee crowd are also included in the packages.
“The Onam gifts provided to the tourists will be destination specific products and souvenirs. Rather than casually visiting the rural areas of Kerala, the tourists can enjoy the authentic Onam celebrations being held in Kerala, with RT Onam packages. This is a great initiative which helps to protect the customs and traditions through tourism by ensuring proper income for villagers”, said Rupesh Kumar K, State RT mission coordinator, Kerala Responsible Tourism mission. “Facilities such as geo-tagging which enables the tourist to know location specific information such as cuisine and other local attractions will be included soon” he added.

The second part of the project intends to reach the authentic Onam celebrations from the villages as such to the tourists. Along with Thiruvathirakali, Onasadya and others, tourists will be introduced to the respective local activities of each places, like Shikkara Boat Rides, village boat trips, coir manufacturing, fishing, toddy tapping, pottery, weaving and such traditional sectors and styles of Kerala.

Kerala Tourism evaluate that, though many festivities are held throughout the State by local clubs and cultural organisations, none of them usually get attention and reach beyond that local area. As part of responsible tourism project, public can upload pictures and videos of Onam celebrations along with other information on the project website. As a result, the local Onam celebrations held throughout Kerala can be gathered and documented. Moreover, the project also aims at helping small clubs to organise events better and publicize them. By making the regional Onam celebrations available through the website to tourists, it is hoped that they will have interest in taking part in it in the future.
The packages range from Rs.2000 to 8000. The tourists will be see off with assured Onam gifts. The project is designed so as to benefit Kudumbasree units in the villages, weaving centres, homely meals enterprises and others. Such projects also have an aim of getting tourism department closer to the society.