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Reflections on Kerala

The Evening with networking event at the
Vintry provided an opportunity to discuss the Kerala Declaration. Krippendorf’s
major contribution was to recognise that it was by appealing to people’s sense
of responsibility that positive change would be achieved rather than by
emancipation. Rebellious tourists and rebellious locals do make a difference
and in an age when government is reluctant to regulate encouraging tourists,
originating market tour operators and local communities and the inbound
industry to act (to rebel)  becomes the
main strategy for achieving change.

 

Kerala brought together 503 delegates from 29 countries to
share experience of implementing the principle of the Cape Town Declaration and
to review progress. There was a lot of energy in the conference and in the
events and activities which Kerala Tourism had organised to create
opportunities for learning, engagement and debate.

 

The Kerala Declaration was debated line by line on
the floor of the conference ? there were 300 still actively participating as
the declaration was signed 6 hours later. There was lots of energy, engagement
and enthusiasm focussed on sharing experience about making change with sections
in issues and strategies like empowerment, social and economic development, the
role of the media, governance, campaigning ?.. lots of good ideas and some
principles.

 

We avoided the trap of redefining the generic
characteristics of responsible tourism in destinations, reasserting the Cape Town
Declaration
recognising that the specifics will reflect differences
of culture, history and geography ? the world is a diverse and interesting
place. The strategies and detail in Kerala, The Gambia and South Africa
are different ? they reflect the diversity of the places, but they share the
principles of the Cape Town Declaration.

 

We saw the progress being made in Kerala, particularly in
local economic development, and the activity in local and state government, in
local communities and in the industry well ? in Belize in May 2009 we hope to hear
a progress report. Responsible Tourism is about stakeholders working together ?to
make better places to live and better places to visit.?

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