Kozhikode: Seeking to put the ancient port town of Beypore on the global experiential tourism map, Kerala Tourism Minister PA Muhammad Riyas on Sunday inaugurated a comprehensive Responsible Tourism (RT) project to showcase its panoramic water-front settings, history and culture before the world.
Riyas said promoting experiential tourism that simultaneously helps increase footfall, supports the local community and preserves the environment, culture and heritage is on the government's agenda.
"Our perspective on tourism is that the state should offer a novel and refreshing experience to visitors. It should also bring benefits to the local communities without upsetting their day-to-day life. This is why the government is giving high priority to the projects of the RT Mission. The RT model of tourism is now being extended to the entire state," Riyas said.
Noting that Beypore has all the required features to become a global RT hub, the minister said its panoramic settings, maritime history, shipbuilding tradition and harmonious and vibrant culture will not fail visitors looking for a different experience.
"Besides its maritime history dating back to centuries, Beypore is also renowned for cross-cultural influences and communal amity. Long before the advent of the western colonialists, Beypore was a vital link in maritime trade with West Asia and the commercial hub of the Malabar region," the minister said.
The project aims to develop Beypore as an RT hub of international stature on the model of 'Pepper Tourism' and 'RT Villages'. The project will be completed by 2024 in a phased manner.
Kozhikode Corporation Mayor Dr Beena Philip presided over the function and District Collector Narasimhugari T L Reddy and RT Mission State Coordinator K Rupeshkumar were present.
Beypore was renowned for the wooden ships built by the local artisans, who made strong and weather-resistant vessels with exceptional skill and artisanship much before the modern technology made its foray. The ships, known as 'uru' (dhow) in local parlance, were in great demand and they carried the bulk of trade with West Asia.
Located about 6 km south-west of Kozhikode city on the estuary where the River Chaliyar empties into Arabian Sea, Beypore is one of Kerala's oldest ports.
The project, based on participatory development model, seeks to relate tourism to the area's alluring landscape, mercantile history, ship-building tradition, skills and craft, diverse cultural influences and rich and nourishing cuisine, the Tourism Department said in a release.
The project area, includes Beypore beach and port, Kadalundi estuary and bird sanctuary, villages on the banks of Chaliyar river, and other spots of historical importance.
The inaugural ceremony was followed by a workshop on "Responsible Tourism and Local Development, which was led by RT Mission State Coordinator, Rupeshkumar.
The project comes as part of concerted efforts to take tourism deep into the state's interiors and hinterland, which would help visitors experience the vibrant culture of the state in all its diversity.