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Human resource development for tourism in rural communities: a case study of Kerala

Baum, T.G. and Kokkranikal, J.J. (2002) Human resource development for tourism in rural communities: a case study of Kerala. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 7 (2). pp. 64-76. ISSN 1094-1665

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Considering the relative backwardness of rural areas, human resources development (HRD) seems to have a very important role in rural tourism development. However, tourism HRD in rural communities is affected by a number of drawbacks. In the absence of any significant private sector presence, especially during initial stages, the public sector need to take the initiative in equipping and empowering the local community to meaningfully participate in tourism. This paper suggests a multi-pronged approach to educate and empower the members of the host community, the tourism industry personnel, and visitors to facilitate rural tourism development, which is sustainability-oriented and can help localize the benefits. The experience of Kerala provides an example of how the public sector initiated HRD activities could contribute to the development of rural tourism, especially in engendering local entrepreneurial endeavors and giving tourism a higher profile. The Kerala experience represents some of the issues in HRD for rural tourism and suggests potential strategies for other rural communities involved in tourism development.