Slew of programmes on Tourism Day

27 September 2009

Staff Reporter
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Various organisations in the State will mark World Tourism Day on Sunday with a variety of programmes. Lined up are an open forum, an interactive session with those who have benefited from the initiatives in the tourism sector and tourist arrivals, slide shows, a quiz and cultural programmes.

Kerala Tourism is not officially organising any function as V. Venu, Secretary, Tourism, is in China for road shows and M. Sivasankar, Director, Tourism, is in that country for receiving the PATA Gold Award.

The District Tourism Promotion Council, Thiruvananthapuram, in association with the Tourism Club of the Kerala Institute of Tourism and Travel Studies, has organised cultural programmes, a slide show and the open forum at Gandhi Park from 5 p.m. The person to inaugurate the programmes will be selected by a draw of lots from those who gather at the venue.

The Association of Tourism Trade Organisations, India (ATTOI), has organised the interactive session. A fruit seller, a local taxi driver and a Kathakali artiste will share their experiences with a select audience at a function to be organised by the association at 10 a.m.

Education and Culture Minister M.A. Baby will present the ATTOI Annual Tourism Achiever Award 2009 to Baby Mathew, managing director, Somatheeram Ayurveda Group.

This year’s theme
“Tourism: celebrating diversity” is the theme selected by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for the day this year. Diversity is one of the driving forces behind tourism and can allow all nations to share the numerous benefits brought about by building stronger ties with other countries, the organisation says.

Globalisation must be understood as a means to improve economic collaboration and international understanding, but not at the cost of diluting the rich cultural diversity of the world. In this respect, travel and tourism can, and must, play a key role. Tourism shares the social responsibility of promoting the positive aspects of globalisation and as such, it must direct these global networks towards a balanced and sustainable development, says Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General, UNWTO.

Equations plea
The advocacy organisation Equitable Tourism Options (Equations) has urged the UN body not to celebrate so quickly tourism’s role as a protector of culture.

“Tourism has some serious soul-searching to do before it awards itself that accolade,” the organisation said in a release here.

Equations has called upon the UNWTO, national and state tourism departments or boards and the tourism industry to comprehend and accept existence of the negative impacts of tourism on the host culture.

Further, it has sought steps to mitigate the negative impacts of tourism on culture by emphasising policies that prioritise the local community’s basic needs over those of tourist luxuries.

Further, Equations asked the UNWTO and other bodies to educate tourists on the cultural dynamics and values of the local communities and enhance respect for their cultural sensitivities.