Kerala tourism, UNESCO ink pact on spice route

Friday, Aug 1, 2014,20:01 IST By metrovaartha A A A

Kerala Tourism has signed an agreement with UNESCO to begin a historic cooperation between the state and worlds foremost cultural organisation in promoting the ancient Spice Route heritage.
Talking on the occasion, Kerala Tourism Minister A P Anilkumar said that ‘this is historic occasion for Kerala. The partnership between our state and UNESCO is a major step towards reviving and remembering an ancient heritage in which Kerala was the undisputed leader on the global stage.’    ‘

By taking the initiative in bringing together all the countries that were once part of the historic spice trade between Kerala and the rest of the world, we are not only promoting peace and cultural exchange, but also aiding the people of the sate to become partners in development by realising its mammoth tourism potential.’ he said here today.

Under the agreement, the Spice Route Initiative of the government would form the bedrock of the cooperation and partnership between the two sides along with protection of promotion of historical areas of Kerala. Both Kerala and UNESCO would also mobilise bilateral and multilateral collaboration with the other countries involved in the ancient spice trade.    Several historical aras of Kerala linked with the ancient Spice Route, including urban areas wil be developed under the agreement to promote the aim of heritage building.

Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa in his address said that the agreement marked one of the biggest tourism-linked conservation projects ever undertaken in the world.    ‘By inviting today’s global travelers to tread the path once traveled by ancient day traders and explorers, the spice route initiative of Kerala throws open an unprecedented collaboration between a large number of countries from several  continents,’ he added.   One of the major highlights of the agreement was promoting academic exchange, intercultural dialogue and joint heritage conservation projects on a shred heritage development initiative among the 31 countries of Asia, Far East, Africa and Europe that were part of the Spice Route, he said.

With the help of UNESCO, Kerala Tourism had already taken  the first step, in the last one year,  towards realising the project by initiating talks with the ambassadors of all spice route countries accredited with UNESCO in Paris.    Several countries, including China, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Oman, Kazakhstan and Turkey had shown interest in the initiative. The United nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) had also lauded the conservation projects related to the SPICE Route in Kerala.    The Agreement was signed between Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa and UNESCO Director and Representative to India Shigeru Aoyogi.