Stake-holders to be registered and Makeover of 50 adventure tourism centres soon: Minister
Highlighting that safety and quality are pivotal for the growth of high-potential Adventure Tourism in Kerala, Mr. Kadakampally Surendran, Minister for Co-operation, Tourism and Devaswoms, Government of Kerala has said 50 major adventure tourism centres in the State will be upgraded to meet the national and global standards.
The Minister’s announcement came during the roll out of a set of comprehensive safety and security regulations to position the state as a prime secure and hassle-free destination for adventure-loving holidaymakers and nature buffs.
Mr. Surendran also launched an Online Accreditation Portal to provide registration for qualified Adventure Activity Providers (AAP), based on the guidelines drawn up by Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), under the State Tourism Department. The validity of the registration is for two years.
Noting that Kerala Adventure and Activities Based Tourism Safety and Security Regulations set guidelines for conduct of 31 land, water and air-based activities, the Minister said Muzhappilangad (Kannur) Kaapil (Varkala), and Vagamon (Idukki) will be designated as adventurous tourism centres. “A proposal to set up adventure parks in all districts is also under the consideration of the government, as per the availability of land,” he said.
Listing five ways of developing adventure tourism, he said first, the basic infrastructure in then existing adventure tourism spots needs to be developed. This should be followed by identifying and developing new spots, promoting public-private projects and creating a circuit connecting adventure tourism centres. Finally, the state has to brand its adventure tourism nationally and internationally. Currently, KATPS. in association with the Forest Department is conducting activities in forest areas, he explained.
“Soft adventure parks have already been started in Veli, Kollam Asramam, Thenmala, Karlad in Wayand and Kottappuram. Preparations are in the final stages in Munnar to start paragliding activities. Besides, an Adventure Tourism Academy will be set up at Sasthampara near the state capital,” the Minister added.
Ms. Rani George IAS, Secretary Tourism, presiding over the function, said except desert-based activities and snow-capped mountain activities, Kerala has all the potential to emerge as a top adventure tourism destination.
“Approval has been given for commencing a training course in adventure tourism at Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies (KITTS), in association with private tour operator Muddy Boots,” she added.
Mr. P Bala Kiran IAS, Director, Tourism, also spoke. Mr. Manesh Bhaskar, CEO KATPS, welcomed the gathering.
Mr. D K Vinod Kumar IFS, Director, Eco-Tourism, Government of Kerala, Mr. E.M. Najeeb, Senior Vice President, Indian Association of Tour Operators of India, Mr. Baby Mathew Somatheeram, President, Kerala Travel Mart Society; Mr. Ravi Shankar. K.V, Executive Council Member, KATPS; Mr. Aneesh Kumar. P.K, Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI) and Mr. Pradeep Murthy, National Executive Council Member, Association of Adventure Tour Operators of India were present.
The guidelines were evolved by an Experts Committee, which mostly focused on 31 adventure tourism activities. While doing this, the panel had also taken into account the Adventure Tourism Guidelines issued by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India.
The guidelines lay emphasis on essential parameters for activity providers such as having proper licence as prescribed by the state or central government norms, deployment of qualified personnel including well-trained activity leaders with hands-on experience, use of quality equipment and knowledge of First Aid and safety and risk mitigation ability.
The land, water and air based activities covered by the guidelines include trekking and mountaineering, jeep safaris, all-terrain vehicle tours, cycling, water skiing, scuba diving, kayaking and canoeing, water surfing and paragliding and hand gliding.
Enhancing the role of stake-holders in adventure tourism, the accredited service providers will be able to take up a variety of outdoor activities to give further boost to this vital sector based on these regulations.