Kerala's initiative to revive and promote the two millennia-old spice route, that links the south western coast of India up to Europe, through tourism has received a boost, with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) pledging support to the venture.
Delegates at a three-day international meet on Silk Road tourism organised by the UNWTO in the northwestern Chinese city of Dunhuang from August 1-3 appreciated a presentation on Spice Route made by the Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa.
According a released statement from the Kerala Tourism Sunday, the presentation focussed on 'Protecting Heritage and Promoting Peace through the Spice Route initiative', emphasising the importance of the route that linked 31 countries in Asia and Europe with India, particularly spice-rich Kerala.
"With the recent archaeological evidences excavated from Muziris, the major port of entry to India from the West for the ancient spice trade, we have been presented with a historic opportunity to revive Spice Route for the modern world," said Billa.
He said the Silk and Spice routes could together emerge as powerful symbols of peace in a strife-torn world and revival of the Spice Route would enable people from around the world to once again travel through the road used by traders for over 2,000 years.
Billa was invited by the UNWTO for the meet which was co-hosted by China National Tourism Administration and the Chinese provincial government of Gansu.
UNWTO's Asia-Pacific regional director Xu Jing, who moderated the session, lauded the 'Kerala model' of tourism development and commented that Kerala Tourism's Spice Route initiative is an important project that UNWTO could promote.
Besides re-establishing Kerala's maritime trade relations with the 31 countries associated with Spice Route, the project seeks to rekindle interest among the modern travellers, prompting them to undertake voyages and excursions.
Apart from India, countries including Afghanistan, Burma, China, Denmark, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mozambique, Netherlands, Oman, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Syria, Turkey, UK and Yemen were part of this historic trade route.