//Kerala is no longer

Kerala is no longer

Friday, April 14, 2006 at 0130 hours IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, APRIL 13:  God’s own country, Kerala, has narrowly missed the coveted title for the world’s best tourism destination to Sierre Gorda in Mexico.

The winners of the prestigious ‘Tourism for Tomorrow Awards 2006’ were announced at the Sixth Global Travel and Tourism Summit organised by World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in Washington last Tuesday. Besides Kerala and Sierre Gorda, the other finalist in the ‘world’s best destination’ category was Crete’s Culinary Sanctuaries (Greece).

State government sources feel that but for the campaign launched by some Kerala-based green activists, alleging that the eco-tourism practices followed by the state were culturally degrading, the State might have had a fair chance of winning the WTTC award.

Besides the destination award, ‘Tourism for Tomorrow’ honours include three other categories. However, no Indian destination could make it to the shortlist. According to the recommendation made by WTTC, Kerala was feted as a model for “maximum positive benefit and minimum negative impact, and the adoption of planning and policies that promote sustainability.”

Kerala tourism had been WTTC’s blue-eyed boy for sometime now, with the Council predicting a demand growth of 11.6% in Kerala – the highest in any part of the world.

Travel industry players are disappointed by the development as they view that the WTTC award would have fetched more business in the coming years.