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T. O. Sooraj Appointed Director
of Kerala Tourism  

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August 19, 2004 - Former District Collector of Kozhikode, Kerala, Mr. T O Sooraj has taken over charge as the Director of Kerala (India) Tourism. He succeeds Mr. Alkesh Kumar Sharma, who has now been posted as Private Secretary to the Minister of State for Urban Development and Poverty Alleviation in the Union Government.
 
An IAS officer of the 1994 batch, Mr. Sooraj has also served as the District Collector of Trichur and Inspector General of Registration. He also held the posts of RDO in Pala and Muvattupuzha and Sub-collector, Ernakulam. A post-graduate degree holder in Science with a PGDIM and a bachelorís degree in law, Mr. Sooraj has nine years experience in the forest department, with another year in banking. 

A native of Kottarakkara, Mr. Sooraj is a champion of eco-tourism and a sport enthusiast deeply interested in trekking and adventure tourism. He is now settled in Ernakulam with his family including his  


T O Sooraj
wife, Suma and children, Rizwan, Rizana and Rizhin.

20% Increase in Tourist Arrivals

The Minister for Tourism, Mr. P. Sankaran said that there was an amazing 20% increase in the tourist arrivals to the State this year. As per the official estimates, the tourism sector contributed a revenue of Rs.59,380 million to the State in 2003.The foreign exchange earnings alone amounted to about Rs.9,830 million. Around 3 lakh tourists are reported to have visited the State last year.

Briefing on the major tourism projects for the current year, the Minister said that the establishment of an amusement park in Veli, an Airport Hotel in Nedumbassery, Heritage Village in Mattanchery and houseboat terminals in Aluva, Thanneermukkam and Kumarakom were on the cards. He added that the development of the Kadalundy Bird Sanctuary would also be undertaken soon. 

Kerala Tourism New Mantra "Going the Eco-way"
 
Kerala Tourism seems all set to lay its foot on the path of 'eco-friendly' tourism. As part of its endeavours to promote eco-tourism, the State Tourism has devised plans to extend the eco-certification scheme that incorporates all the key players in the sector.

The Eco-Certification Scheme conceived under the Eco-Kerala Programme, comprises of a set of practices for each sub-sector within the tourism sector to become more eco-friendly. The scheme will be extended to the tour operators first, then to the various destinations in the State and finally to the panchayats.

The tour operators will be directed to encourage group tours and provide quality environmental education to visiting guests. Destinations including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and beaches will be offered certificates based on their eco-friendly industry index. Local bodies would also be considered eligible for the certification if they fulfill the necessary criteria.

The Eco-certification scheme aims to convert the entire State into an ideal eco-tourism destination .It will also serve as a model for sustainable tourism development.

In the hospitality industry, those adhering to the three categories of conditions namely, essential, necessary and desirable; will be accorded a diamond club member status while those complying with the first two sets ie; essential and necessary, will be a club member. Hotels interested in obtaining eco-certification are required to control 50% of the street, walkway, garden and external lights by time-devices and should ensure that at least 50% of the total lamps are CFL. Club memberships will be reserved for those who make use of more than 90% CFL lamps.

The conditions set for the hotels/ resorts vary from types of carry bags used to herbal gardens, water and energy conservation and organic cultivation. The foremost conditions include celebration of World Environment Day, World Earth Day and undertaking of environmental audits.


 
Contact:
Department of Tourism
Government of Kerala
Park View, Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala - 695 033 India
Phone: +91-471-2321132
http://www.keralatourism.org/
 
Also See: EIH and Hilton Launch Strategic Alliance - Eight Hotels in India Rebranded, Including the Flagship Oberoi Towers in Mumbai, Rebranded as Hilton Towers / April 2004


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