The initiativewill encourage students to identify new tourism products, and contribute to the growth of tourism sector.
In an effort to ensure active participation of students in sustainable and inclusive tourism development, Kerala has unveiled a novel project to form Tourism Clubs in major college campuses across the state, as a collective endeavour of the departments of Tourism and Higher Education.
Minister for Tourism PA Mohamed Riyas and Minister for Higher Education Dr R Bindu said Tourism Clubs will be formed in 25 colleges in the state in the first phase. The Department of Tourism will provide the funds for the activities of the clubs.
Riyas said tourism clubs will be in charge of the upkeep of 25 tourism destinations and they will especially ensure the hygiene of each property.
The Minister exuded confidence that campus clubs will pave the way for new tourism trends and create interest in travel among students.
“The plan also includes identifying future tourism professionals among students, who can also help market the destinations using social media platforms. There are good bloggers among students and their talent can be leveraged for featuring the state’s tourism attractions before a wider audience,” Riyas said.
The youngsters can also work as part-time tourism guides and cultural interactions and workshops will be conducted in concert with foreign universities to hone their skills, Riyas said.
Dr Bindu said the initiative will encourage students to identify new tourism products, and contribute to the growth of tourism sector, besides fostering interest among students in travel and tourism.
Apart from enhancing the awareness among the youth that tourism is a vital sector for Kerala, Tourism Clubs will rope in students to see that the tourism destinations and assets are maintained well.
The clubs will seek to nurture future professionals needed by the fast-growing tourism sector, develop international outlook among students, encourage them to take an active role in nature conservation and environmental activities and engage them in identifying new tourism spots.
Also, the campus clubs will help students understand the tastes and demands of the tourists of our time.
The members of the Tourism Clubs will get opportunity to participate in major tourism-related events in the state like Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) and Kochi Muziris Biennale.
The members of the clubs will have their uniform, which will be the same on all campuses, as well as ID cards. They will be given certificates jointly by the departments of Tourism and Higher Education.
Besides selecting the first set of 25 campuses for setting up Tourism Clubs, the state-level inauguration of the initiative is also expected to take place soon.
Each club will have a maximum of 50 members. A calendar will be brought out on the activities to be taken up by them this year. The clubs that put up outstanding performance will be considered for awards.
District Tourism Promotion Councils will be entrusted with the responsibility of coordinating the activities of clubs in their respective areas.
A detailed guideline on the functioning of Tourism Clubs will be drawn up in consultation with the Higher Education Department.
Kerala Tourism also recently launched its 24×7 WhatsApp chatbot ‘Maya’ to enable tourists to access all information and updates about the tourism ecosystem in the state by just sending a ‘Hi’ to the WhatsApp no 7510512345, or by scanning the QR code to access the service.