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The role of product innovation in rural tourism development: a case study of houseboats in Kerala

Baum, T. and Kokkranikal, J.J. (2002) The role of product innovation in rural tourism development: a case study of houseboats in Kerala. In: Innovation in Tourism Planning. Dublin Institute of Technology. ISBN 0-9542930-2-9

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Abstract

Book chapter examines the role of product innovation in rural tourism development with a case study of houseboats in Kerala. 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.