On 19 April, Kerala Tourism was feted before over
2,000 delegates who had come for the 53rd Pacific Asia
Travel Association (PATA) annual conference at the International
Convention Centre in Jeju in Cheju resort island of South
Rathi Vinay Jha, secretary, union ministry of tourism
three 2004 PATA gold awards in front of the likes of Chris
Cramer, managing director, CNN International, Tony Wheeler,
founder of the Lonely Planet, and eight ministers from
as many countries.
``This is a significant achievement for the state, more
so for the
department as no state tourism department in the country
has received three PATA awards in a row. The state will
be represented by union tourism secretary Rathi Vinay
Jha as most of us are on election duty,'' said Alkesh
Kumar Sharma, director, Kerala Tourism, who was unable
to attend the event, because of general elections.
The three awards have been won by the state tourism department
for its Thenmala eco-tourism project, East Fort heritage
project and the Ayurveda promotional CD-ROM titled `Ayurveda:
the mantra of niramaya.'
While the award for East Fort heritage project is for
the state government's efforts in implementing a comprehensive
strategy for protecting the area around East Fort in Thiruvananthapuram
by declaring it a heritage zone, the award for Thenmala
eco-tourism project, the first of its kind in India, lauds
the state's initiatives in promoting eco-tourism on the
basis of sound principles of ecological sustainability
in the surrounding areas of Thenmala.
The last award went to the Ayurveda promotional CD-ROM
titled `Ayurveda: the mantra of niramaya'. The CD-ROM,
produced by Kerala Tourism in association with Invis Multimedia,
is in five sections, with well-researched texts, video
clips, photographs and mural paintings.
Last year too, Kerala Tourism had won the PATA gold award
for the CD-ROM titled `Kerala - the green symphony', jointly
produced by Kerala Tourism and Invis Multimedia.
The five-day PATA convention will debate extensively
on sustainable development and innovative tourism products
and services and has as its theme, `tourism is everybody's
key to future of tourism in the state is sustainable development
as the pressure on the land increases. The destination
has to sustain and should not exceed capacity. Also, standards
have to go up both in tourism products and services. Currently,
we are framing guidelines for eco-friendly development
and also for certification of products and services,''
Alkesh Kumar said.