Kerala introduces responsible tourism tag for hotels, resorts

Hotels and resorts have been classified into RT Diamond, RT Gold and RT Silver categories, based on their scores on the specified environmental parameters, the minister said.

Kerala on Tuesday introduced a ‘responsible tourism’ (RT) classification for hotels and resorts, giving a thrust to environmental protection and ecological restoration through tourism.

Launching the RT classification software and online application portal for standardisation schemes, tourism minister PA Mohamed Riyas said this initiative, based on sustainable management, socio-cultural, economic and environmental responsibility, is a model for the entire country.

Hotels and resorts have been classified into RT Diamond, RT Gold and RT Silver categories, based on their scores on the specified environmental parameters, the minister said.

“Properties earning more than 80% score in environmental responsibility criteria will receive the RT Green classification. With the launch of the online portal, all processes will be eased and there will not be any delay in providing services,” Riyas said.

Accreditation for homestays, service villas, Ayurveda centres and resorts, adventure tourism service providers, amusement parks, heritage homes conservation project Grihastali, and licences for tour guides will now be available online, he said.

Riyas said the Kerala tourism department will be collaborating with the transport department to set up ‘Foodie Wheels’ at 20 major tourism destinations to introduce local cuisine to visitors. Discussions were also held with the culture department on exploring ‘cinema tourism’.

There are also plans to partner with the public works department to create facilities for the public to enjoy local food on old and unused bridges that have stability certificates, Riyas, who also holds the public works portfolio, said.

The classification under the RT scheme will be implemented by the state RT Mission. The parameters emphasise ecological conservation, local economic development, experiential tourism, preservation of arts and culture, and sustainable growth in the tourism sector.

The RT classification, which is valid for three years, will be awarded following the inspection by a panel comprising the tourism director as chairman, state RT Mission coordinator as convener, and other industry experts.

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