Kumarakom

Kumarakom has become a very popular tourist destination in a short period. The setting in the backdrop of Vembanad lake, the largest freshwater lake in Kerala, has gifted the destination with panoramic views. Besides the tourism activities in the backwaters, the Kumarakom bird sanctuary which extends over 14 acres is a major tourist attraction. Agriculture, fishing and tourism are the major economic activities of Kumarakom. Kumarakom is declared as a Special Tourism Zone by Government of Kerala in 2005.

The efforts to launch RT at Kumarakom started in May 2007. The first destination level meeting was held on 16th May 2007. The Destination Level Responsible Tourism Committee and the three working groups in economic, environmental and social areas were formed in this meeting. A second meeting of the DLRTC was held on 27th Nov 2007 before the official inauguration of RT on 14th March 2008. Kumarakom Grama Panchayat took the lead in implementing the RT concept at Kumarakom. Among the four destinations where RT is initiated in the State, implementation of RT is considered to be most successful at Kumarakom. Personal interviews were conducted at the destination as part of the evaluation of RT implementation at Kumarakom. The most important source of information was the RT Coordinator of Kumarakom and a fuller list of sources of information is given in Appendix 3.1. Besides, the evaluation team conducted a focus group interview with the members of the Grama Panchayat. The following observations are made from these interviews and interactions with respect to the ToR given.

1. RT related structure

  1. SLRTC
  2. The support given to Kumarakom at the State level, especially by the Secretary and Director of Tourism, is regarded as the main force behind implementation of RT in Kumarakom. Kumarakom is represented in the SLRTC by its President. As per a suggestion from the former Panchayat President, it would be worthwhile to include the Chairman of the Welfare Standing Committee and one Panchayat member interested in RT implementation as members of SLRTC. This suggestion may not however work when more destinations are brought under the RT network. Instead, they could be members of a district level or zonal level RT Committees when RT implementation is expanded to other destinations nearby. Monitoring of the Kudumbasree activities at Panchayat level is carried out by the Chairman of Welfare Standing Committee, and in that sense, the suggestion to include the Chairman of Welfare Standing Committee is valid.

    Regarding the working groups under SLRTC, the former President of the Panchayat is of the opinion that more members with good knowledge are to be included. Training of elected ward members in the RT destinations by the SLRTC is suggested.

  3. Working Groups
  4. Kumarakom Panchayat had the rare advantage of having a working group in tourism because of the importance of tourism,. Panchayats can have specific working groups for subjects of local importance. This has benefitted the RT implementation mechanism in Kumarakom. Those who are interested in the RT concept came together and formed the tourism working group at Panchayat level.

    Other than the working group at Panchayat level, three working groups under DLRTC to aid the implementation of RT under the triple responsibilities were also formed. Though the roles of the working groups were known, these groups, except as individual members, did not contribute much in RT implementation at Kumarakom.

    Of late, more owners of hotels and resorts have expressed cooperation and participation in the continued implementation of RT.

  5. Technical Support Cell at Destination level
  6. Advices of the Technical Support Cell have helped the implementation of RT at the destination. As far as Kumarakom is concerned, the focus centre of RT implementation was this Technical cell. The cell was active throughout right from the launching date and contributed to several initiatives offering timely support. Formation of Kudumbasree units and farmer groups to contribute to the production system, formation of 'Samrudhi' group for the collection and distribution of the produces, organizing the hotels and resorts to become part of the RT movement, preparation of a production calendar to evenly space production of vegetables and thus to supply the products to hotels and resorts round the year, liaison on issues within and between production units, etc. are few of the functions carried out by the Technical Cell Coordinator. Most of the time of the Coordinator was spent in the implementation of economic responsibilities.

    The intervention of the Cell has helped to solve labour related issues such as the dispute on the disbursement of bonus for the houseboat crew.

    The residents initially opposed setting up of a sewage treatment plant, but the cell's efforts to create awareness among the residents helped to set up the plant. At the initiative of the RT Cell, the Panchayat President addressed a group of protesters that included women and students of nearby school and committed to them that the plant would be shut down in case of any malfunction. The plant is now running under the supervision of DTPC.

    The RT Cell ceased to be operational from June 2010 that brought in a void to the other players in the RT System who depended on the RT Coordinator for leadership and guidance.

  7. Price Fixing Committee
  8. Price Fixing Committee became part of the RT implementation structure during the implementation phase. The evolution was the result of the realization that a price fixing mechanism would help in arriving at a consensus price for the commodities supplied to hotels by the community. DLRTC constituted the price fixing committee. The members of the Pricing Committee were from the Grama Panchayat, Kudumbashree, DTPC and purchase staff of hotels. Other members of the Committee were Sales tax officer, veterinary officer, agricultural officer, and representative from Kerala Agricultural University. The Committee confined itself to vegetables and agri-products that are available in open market.

    Initially, involvement of the Price Fixing Committee was more frequent. But later on, the Committee met only when a drastic variation in price was observed compared to the market price. Currently, "Samrudhi", the collection and distribution group of the RT implementation system, fixes the prices of the items it sells to the hotels.

    After the takeover of the new Panchayat Samithi, no meeting of the price fixing committee is held. Not all purchase managers of hotels who buy products regularly through "Samrudhi" are aware of the price fixing mechanism. Quality Committee

    The Quality Committee was constituted to resolve issues related to the quality of materials supplied to the hotels. Like the Price Fixing Committee, this is also system evolved in an effort to benchmark the quality of products. The hotels hesitated to source their products from the community due to the fear of poor quality products. The frequency of meetings of the Quality Committee has come down now.

    The quality committee is also constituted by the DLRTC. The members of the Committee were from the Grama Panchayat, Kudumbashree, DTPC, Chefs of participating hotels, Veterinary Surgeon, Agricultural Officer and Health Inspector.

    The Quality Committee is not constituted after the new Panchayat committee has taken over. Some of the respondents feel that the Quality Committee is not necessary since there is no dispute now with the quality of items supplied. But as per a suggestion by the former Panchayat President, representatives of Kudumbasree, Purusha Swayam Sahaya Sangham and Karshaka Koottayma are also to be included in the Quality Committee to maintain the quality standards at the producer and supply levels.

  9. Samrudhi Activity Group
  10. The Samrudhi group is operated by Kudumbasree members. Samrudhi has assumed the role of procurement and supply of local produces, perishable as well as non-perishable, to the hotels / restaurants. Due to seasonal variations, all products will not be available round the year locally. Such items are procured from elsewhere.

    Income generation by Samrudhi in the beginning was less, but improved later. The income generated is also subject to seasonal variation since it is linked with tourist seasons.

    Initially, there were six members in the Samrudhi group, including two graduates, which is presently reduced to three members with each drawing a salary of Rs. 2000 per month. There is a need to improve the collection and distribution system. Maintaining accounts of the transactions was improper, but CDS is presently helping Samrudhi to streamline it and Samrudhi is now generating surplus income.

    The problem faced by the Samrudhi group is lack of working capital. Kudumbasree has given an interest free loan of Rs. 30000 to Samrudhi. Coconut, coconut oil and pappad are sourced on credit basis. Besides the vegetables sourced locally, the unit procures vegetables from other places, to meet the demand of the hotels. Though this is not intended as an activity of RT implementation, the unit has adapted to this to make up for the shortages in the operational income.

    In the beginning, the RT Coordinator contacted the hotels, collected the purchase orders and passed it to Samrudhi Group. Samrudhi procured the items from the production centres and supplied to hotels. In the absence of the RT Coordinator since June 2010, the hotels and resorts contact Samrudhi by phone for the supplies. Payment to Samrudhi is made by cheque. The hotels take a credit period varying from 15 days to 45 days.

    For better management of Samrudhi, at least five members are needed according to the chairperson of CDS. The present strength is three, which came down from the initial strength of five. While two persons manage the shop, three others are needed in the collection and distribution activities.

    The Samrudhi group does not have any vehicle, though a vehicle is a must for collecting the vegetables and distributing it to the hotels. The present need is met by hiring vehicles. The former Panchayat President and the Chairperson of CDS suggest seeking fund from Department of Tourism for the procurement of an auto-rickshaw.

  11. Farmers' Groups
  12. The farmer groups and homestead farmers are the producers of the supplies and formed the first link in the supply chain. There are 450 farmers in 10 groups called "Karshaka samithis" associated with RT initiatives. The homestead farmers, numbering about 512, also cultivated vegetables and other items in the premises of their house/compound, and supplied it to the hotels / restaurants through Samrudhi.

    Karshaka koottayma is another group of farmers. Kudumbasree extends financial support to this. All the farmers are not giving their products to Samrudhi. All the items needed by the hotels are not produced at Kumarakom by the Farmer Groups. Also all the products of the Farmer Groups are procured by the hotels.
2. Relationships among partners and stakeholders of RT

The structure given in the earlier Chapter is very broad when the partners and stake holders at destination like Kumarakom is considered. The partners and stakeholders at destination level are identified as follows:

Level 2

Kumarakom Grama Panchayat, DLRTC, RT Technical Support Cell, Working Group

- Economic Responsibility, Working Group - Social and Cultural Responsibility, Working Group - Environmental Responsibility, CDS, Kudumbasree, Department of Tourism, DTPC, the industry (Hotels and Restaurants)

Level 3

Samrudhi

Level 4

Kudumbasree Units, Farmer Groups, Artisans, Cultural groups and other SHGs

Roles of these players varied from regulatory to monitoring and from facilitation to execution. Except the industry (hotels and restaurants), all the players are lined along the supply side, like a many-to-one game. This so happened because of the thrust given to economic responsibility alone and because of the absence of SHGs and NGOs.

Initially, the relation with the industry was weak. With the co-operation of State Tourism Department of Tourism and Kumarakom Grama Panchayat, the implementation system succeeded in bringing together 15 hotels/resorts to the RT movement. The local community thus got the opportunity to make use of their traditional lifestyle and cultural talents to get economically rewarded. Several initiatives of the RT Cell have helped in the involvement of the local community in meeting the requirements of the industry. The RT Cell was instrumental in establishing units for vegetable cultivation, fish processing, chapatti making, chicken processing, supply of tender coconuts, gift making, pappad making, handicraft and painting, souvenir, and performing groups like Shinkarimelam and other cultural groups. All these units were operated by different micro enterprises and individuals. But only very few are surviving today and the initial enthusiasm did not last long.

Presently, only five hotels and resorts source their requirement through Samrudhi. Coconut, tender coconuts, coconut oil, pappad and eggs are the main items the industry is sourcing from the local community.

The aspiration level of the community was very high whereas the industry was very cautious in sourcing their requirements locally. According to the representatives of the industry, quality was one major factor that retarded their interest to buy local products. The hotels which cooperated with the RT implementation did so because they considered it as a social cause and due to a sort of political pressure at local level. The industry also has come forward to assist in establishing a water supply scheme at Kumarakom. When the land in the possession of the Panchayat for establishing the scheme was found to be not sufficient, the industry contributed to buy more land. Thus the water supply scheme implemented in Kumarakom is an example of the cooperation of the industry in community development. The industry has also contributed to organize training programmes targeting drivers and employees of boats to make them tourist friendly.

The linkages between these partners and stake holders are analysed and given separately in Chapter 7.

3. Ownership by the local body

Kumarakom Panchayat has succeeded in effectively coordinating the roles of the players in tourism in line with the principles of RT. It could bring together the Kudumbasree units, few of the hotel / resort establishments, and the local community. There is no doubt that Kumarakom Panchayat played a key role in the implementation of RT in Kumarakom. The leadership of the Panchayat played a critical role in institutionalizing the RT system in Kumaarakom.

The initiatives of former Panchayat Samithi are continued now. The President of the Kumarakom Grama Panchayat is of the view that constraints if any would be discussed and resolved. A team from the Central government visited Kumarakom and they expressed satisfaction over the implementation mechanism of RT followed here. This was an encouragement to the Panchayat Samithi to take it forward. And the most recent PATA award to Kumarakom is to be seen as similar nourishment to the implementing agency in the destination.

The ward members of the Panchayat are extending their cooperation in the implementation of RT. There is a suggestion that the elected members be given training on RT concepts so that the role of Panchayat could be more productive.

The tourism working group of the new Panchayat Samithi is constituted with the following members:

  • President of Kumarakom Panchayat - Chairperson
  • Sri. G C Damodaran, former Panchayat President - Vice-Chairman
  • Secretary of Kumarakom Panchayat - Convener
  • Representative from Department of Tourism - Member
  • Representative of Home Stay Association - Member
  • Representative of Houseboat operators Association - Member
  • Former MD of KTDC residing at Kumarakom - Member

The tourism working group has so far met twice. The decisions taken in the working group is submitted to the Grama Sabha. The influence of RT principles is reflected in the decisions taken by the new tourism working group of the Panchayat. Few of the decisions taken by the new working group are as follows:

  • To set up selling outlets of local produces. Though this is not confined to tourism sector alone, when the targeted customers are visitors and the stakeholders in tourism, the attempt has to be seen as an effort to improve the economic responsibility of RT.
  • Dredging and deepening of canals in the village. The decision if implemented in the true spirit would help in improving the quality of environment in the destination.
  • To train tourist guides. This can be categorized under economic responsibility, which would help in improving the quality of tourism services and reduce leakages.
  • For a wider and even spread of RT. This decision is perhaps the most encouraging one and reflects the acceptance of RT by the local body as a guiding principle for tourism development in Kumarakom.

The future of RT depends on the initiatives taken by the Panchayat with the support of Department of Tourism.

4. Ownership by industry

During the destination level workshop held at Kumarakom on 16th May 2007, Secretary, Tourism, Government of Kerala, made a remark about the series of complaints made by the hoteliers against the Panchayat and the local community, and the views held by the local people that tourism industry was a business of outsiders who exploit the local resources. Three hoteliers signed the agreement in that workshop extending their cooperation in the implementation of RT at Kumarakom. This number got increased as more hoteliers joined the group.

In Kumarakom, the initial interest shown by the industry in their participation in RT implementation did not last long. Out of 15 hotels and restaurants that participated in the beginning, only five remained in RT. Those who continue to participate, purchase products from local supply groups. Although the purchases were mostly for the staff of the hotels (and not for the guests), substantial business could be generated. From September 2008 to January 2010, the industry purchased about Rs. 27 lakhs worth of local produces that include perishable as well as non-perishable items.

In the employment front, the Zuri hotel has employed 28 out of 30 people for works associated with gardening from the local community. All the unskilled staff in the kitchen and housekeeping are from the local community. The Kumarakom Lake Resort, besides being the biggest procurer in the RT movement, encourages development of entrepreneurship. The hotels presently participating in the RT movement are ready to procure more items if it meets the quality standard and required volume.

The biggest concerns expressed by industry representatives were higher price charged by Samrudhi compared to the market price and lack of quality. The quality maintained initially was not kept when the demand increased. Some of the hotels shifted to other vendors when Samrudhi could not supply the quantity ordered. Since the industry is cautious of the quality of products and since it is also sourced from places outside Kumarakom, most of the purchases are restricted for consumption of the hotel staff.

5. Benefit to the local community

The RT Cell at Kumarakom identified several social issues that 'irritated' the local community. The social issues identified were:

  • Pollution of backwaters and small canals
  • Displacement of local people
  • Conversion of agricultural land to non-agricultural uses by filling paddy fields
  • Denial of local access to the backwaters by tourism properties
  • Pollution of public places
  • Tourism related immoral activities
  • Increasing consumption of alcohol and tendency for drug usage
  • Encroachment of backwater shores by tourism properties

All the above issues are being addressed by the Grama Panchayat and the RT initiative aided in developing projects and tapping financial requirements for executing the projects. The sewage plant set up at Kumarakom is intended to control the pollution of Vambanad lake caused by the houseboats. Ban on use of plastic items need to be strictly enforced in Kumarakom Panchayat, according to the President of Kumarakom Grama Panchayat. As a result of the RT movement, the bird sanctuary area is declared as a plastic free zone. The RT movement has attempted to convert uncultivated land back to cultivated land. A walkway project provides the tourists and the local residents alike to get access to the lake. Because of RT, the residents guard against immoral activities and atrocities against women. As a Panchayat that promotes RT, it would be difficult to grant licenses to tourism properties to reclaim and encroach to the backwaters.

RT also has contributed to the development of infrastructure. A direct benefit to the local community due to RT is the drinking water scheme, set up with the cooperation of the hotel industry at Kumarakom. The street lighting in Kumarakom is improved due to the efforts of the RT Cell and Panchayat.

The RT has helped in the development of entrepreneurs. Responsible tourism destination cell has developed three souvenirs in Kumarakom - a houseboat model, a snake boat model and a depiction of traditional angling of the fishermen in Kumarakom. All the three souvenirs are crafted and made available at the resorts in Kumarakom by three local entrepreneurs. Two variants of the houseboat models were priced at Rs. 500 and Rs. 1100. The snake boat model is priced at Rs. 4000 per piece. The model of traditional angling is priced at Rs. 800 per piece. By making models of Kettuvalloms and houseboats, the entrepreneur earns upto Rs. 20000 a month. This is a handicraft unit and the individual makes about 20 models in a month. He hopes to double the production with the help of machines. This unit was in existence before RT, but the earnings are more regular after the implementation of RT.

A number of people in the destination actively associates with Responsible Tourism. Since there is no intermediary, the benefits of RT movement go straight to the local community who produce perishable and non-perishable items for the

tourism enterprises. Tour packages like "Village life experience" and "A day with the farmer" give opportunities to tourists to experience the village life. The participants of the package are also the direct beneficiaries of tourism.

The "Geethabhai" unit is one of the largest suppliers of vegetables in

Kumarakom. This unit employs 21 persons. Since the implementation of RT, this unit is engaged in cultivation of paddy in seven acres, homestead farming for growing vegetables and plantains and poultry farming. The products are sold to Samrudhi. Items remaining after selling to Samrudhi, are sold to other shops. The entrepreneurs have attended classes on organic farming and they believe that organic farming would generate more profit for the unit.

Another unit called "Earamattom" led by another woman entrepreneur also is

doing well since the implementation of RT. This unit has 19 members. The main activities of the unit are vegetable growing, catering, tailoring and performing cultural shows.

A third one is the Gopika Cultural Group, a unit formed after the implementation if RT by another woman. But after couple of performances, the group is now inactive. Earlier, the RT coordinator helped them to get invitation to stage performances. The members in the group are engaged in other activities like making brooms and mats that are supplied to Samrduhi.

6. Role of Kudumbasree

The Kudumbasree units are the activity groups formed by the members of Ayalkootam or Area Development Societies that fall under the CDS. There are 301 Kudumbasree units at Kumarakom with a total membership of 4500 women. The total women population in the Panchayat is about 5500. Thus Kudumbasree has a strong foothold among women in the Panchayat.

Kudumbasree was the main stake holder group in RT implementation. The District Mission played a great role in the participation of Kudumbasree units in RT. The trend shows an increasing enrolment of women in Kudumbasree since the implementation of RT. When the RT was initiated, there were 167 Kudumbasree units. This is now increased to 301. Fifteen units are concentrating on growing vegetables.

Continuous supply of vegetables to the participating hotels / resorts was made possible due to the efforts of Kudumbasree. The Kudumbasree units leased about 1.13 acres of land and cultivated vegetables to meet the demand for continuous supply to the participating hotels.

The Kudumbasree units were expected to strengthen the production system and participate in the collection and distribution of the products. The collection and distribution system was carried out by the Samrudhi Activity Group. In contrast to the general nature of Kudumbasree units that are engaged in production, the Samrudhi unit of Kudumbasree is not engaged in any production and the unit has two male members. The activities of Samrudhi are governed by a separate byelaw under Kudumbasree. The CDS is in full command of Samrudhi. They were given financial assistance in the beginning and the accounts are audited by CDS. Samrudhi has an outlet for open sale and the space for the shop is provided by the Panchayat free of cost.

The production units faced challenges like climate related adversities. The vegetables produced by the units are sold in the open market as well as to Samrudhi. It cannot be said that the market available through RT is critical for the units. The demand for the products always used to be higher than the production. As it was revealed, these units could not achieve the production targets as demanded by the industry.

Formation of more Kudumbasree units, capacity building on production, planning and marketing and financial support to their operation would be required. Presently, only State Bank of Travancore is extending financial support to the units. According to the President of the Panchayat, more banks will have to extend financial assistance for the operation of Kudumbasree units. These units will have to work in cooperation with Agricultural Department and agencies like Matsyafed.

7. Gender aspects

The role of Kudumbasree in the implementation of RT has helped to improve the status of several women by giving them opportunities to find employment and leadership qualities. One of the Kudumbasree member is recently elected to the local body as well. She is also a successful entrepreneur today and her unit, named as "Geethabhai", supplies vegetables to the industry fetching revenue of over Rs. 10000 a month.

There are other women entrepreneurs who also were engaged in activities that got rewarded by RT. Besides growing vegetables, women are actively involved in

cultural groups. Some of them are part of the "Village Life Experience" and are beneficiaries of the RT movement.

Before the implementation of RT, the members of the Samrudhi unit were housewives. It is estimated that Samrudhi has benefitted more than 100 families in Kumarakom.

Women from the local community are benefitted through employment in hotels and resorts. The Zuri hotel for example has more women from the local community than men.

The government channel of Belgium telecasted the success story of RT at Kumarakom. The telecast covered 12 countries. The success of RT in women empowerment and poverty eradication was well projected in the telecast. The movement has directly involves 900 women in Kumarakom.

8. Production system

An assessment of the demand for local produces was made by KITTS earlier. But the production by the Kudumbasree units, farmer groups and home-stead farmers were far below the estimated demand. The RT cell at Kumarakom collected orders from the participating hotels / resorts regularly and supplied the items as per the order. The quantity thus ordered was however different from the demand estimated by KITTS. The main reason for this deviation could be attributed to the lack of confidence in the quality of products that could be locally supplied. The industry will not compromise on the quality and variety of products that are meant for guests. The improvement can be expected only if the items supplied through RT movement are qualitatively better.

Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in Kumarakom. RT implementation hence has given sufficient importance to this sector. An additional 55 acres of uncultivated land is brought under cultivation through RT. The land is taken on lease. CDS fund is utilized for this. Fish farming was promoted in ten ponds in the Panchayat area. The number of Karshakasamithis who participated in the RT movement at Kumarakom was 10 with 450 members. Besides, there were 510 home-stead farmers. Members in micro-enterprises were 25.

The formal production system of RT depended on Kudumbasree, home-stead farmers and farmers. About 6 acres of land by Kudumbasree, 14 acres by Home-stead farmers and 40 acres by farmers were brought under cultivation for RT on an average in a month during the period from Sept 2008 to Jan 20101. Out of these, 16 acres of land was additionally brought under cultivation because of RT.

1.Source: ANALYSIS OF ECONOMIC ADVANCEMENT IN KUMARAKOM THROUGH RESPONSIBLE TOURISM, by RT Cell

9. Collection and supply mechanism

The collection and supply mechanism in RT is through the Samrudhi group. Samrudhi in Kumarakom is functioning well. In the first 18 months, the turnover of Samrudhi was Rs. 12 lakhs and successfully competed with established distributers and traders. Average revenue generated in a month by Samrudhi is to the tune of Rs. 60000. Samrudhi supply the items to hotels, restaurants, home-stays and houseboats. They also have an open shop to sell the procured items.

There are challenges faced by Samrudhi. At times, Samrudhi is unable to supply the items in the required quantity. They will not be able to supply fruits and vegetables that are imported or that are not grown in Kumarakom. The hotels usually get a credit period for making payment, but with Samrudhi, this is creating difficulties. Quality is another challenge faced by Samrudhi. For example, local pappads last for seven days, whereas packed pappads in the market last up to three months. Operation of Samrudhi faces challenges like lack of working capital. The women engaged in the Samrudhi unit sometimes are not able to take their salary every month due to lack of working capital. It is said that they stick on to Samrudhi with the hope of better sale in future.

A good number of items are sourced by Samrudhi from outside Kumarakom. As such there is no value addition happening in the supply chain. The role of Samrudhi is limited to exchange of commodities against orders. With just two members, one cannot expect anything to add value to the products before it is delivered.

Some of the items like Plantain flower, papaya, tender coconut and plantains are supplied directly by the farmers to hotels. The RT implementation has thus given an opportunity to the farmers to sell their products directly to the consumer and avoid middlemen.

An analysis of the items supplied by Samrudhi to the hotels in terms of consistency in supply and value of items, Samrudhi will be able to still maintain or improve their business if the collection and supplies are limited to the following four or five items. Volume of collection and distribution through Samrudhi for 17 months is given in Appendix 3-2.

Base data
First 17 months of RT implementation
One year from Feb 2009 to Jan 2010
Products
Fish, Coconut, tender coconut, souvenir and handicrafts
Coconut, tender coconut, coconut oil, souvenir and handicrafts

10. Local awareness and involvement

The local community at Kumarakom is well aware of the RT concept. The awards it received at national level also has helped to spread the awareness further. The PATA award received recently must have again helped to firm up the belief of RT concept among the local community.

It is pointed out to conduct awareness programs on RT concept on the basis of a training module prepared on the basis of the experiences gained in the RT implementation. The ward members are also to be given the training. Repeating the training in every three months would help to cover the entire community.

11. Media support

The present Panchayat President is of the opinion that the media has not given the required importance for RT in Kumarakom. But this could be an opinion on the support of media after the new Panchayat President assumed the charge. The RT cell officials who helped in the implementation of RT in Kumarakom maintained good relations with the media. Malayala Manorama, Mathrubhoomi, Kerala Kaumudi, Deepika, Deshabhimani, The Hindu, Indian Express and Mangalam were among the news papers that covered the programmes of RT. Other media like Manorama Vision, Belgium govt. channel, Business Today, India Today and Outlook gave good coverage to the RT programme at Kumarakom.

RESPONSIBLE TOURISM KERALA

Department of Tourism
Government of Kerala, Park View
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
India - 695 033
Keral Tourism
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