Shri Kadakampally Surendran, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism,

Shri V. Sasi, Deputy Speaker, Kerala Legislative Assembly,

Shri Sreenivasan, Chief General Manager, NABARD,

Shri Nedumudi Venu, Noted Actor,

Major Ravi, Noted Film Director,

Justice Smt. A. Lakshmikutty, Chairperson, Sri Sathya Sai

      Orphanage Trust,

Adv. J.R. Padmakumar,

Prof. Vijayakumar, Director, Social Tourism Project,

Shri K.A. Anandakumar, Founder and Executive Director,  Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust,

Shri S. Gopakumar, Architect of Social Tourism Project,

Shri K. Gopakumaran Nair, Senior Vice Chairman,

Sahodaree Sahodaranmare

Ellavarkkum Ente Namaskaram.

I am extremely happy to inaugurate the Innovative Social Tourism Project at Saigramam, an abode of peace and serenity in the vicinity of Thiruvananthapuram. This place also calls to mind the unique philosophy of service bestowed on society by Sri Satya Sai Baba, renowned spiritual guru.

Let me at the outset, compliment the Sri Sathya Sai Orphanage Trust for setting up the Saigramam and the Social Tourism initiative, which seeks to keep cultures, customs and societies bound together. I am informed that the Social Tourism initiative is being implemented with the cooperation of the State Tourism department and that the project has been partly funded by the State Government and NABARD.

As we all know, the Sai Orphanage Trust andSaigramamhave been engaged in charity work in education, health, housing, livelihood and social security for the benefit of the underprivileged sections of society. It merits mention that the activities at Saigramam are known to be rooted in ethics and human values and guided by a commitment to society and the environment.  On the whole, a sincere concern for the future reflects in all the projects undertaken at Saigramam.

I am impressed by the noble objective behind the Social tourism project, namely, the conservation of the vanishing traditional art forms of Kerala and the provision of support to the needy performers. We all know that art forms are often used to promote tourism.  This has made dance and music part and parcel of many tourism initiatives. This trend has also helped many rare and disappearing art forms to survive. In short, the inclusion of art forms in tourism promotion has always been of great help to artists, mainly of elite art forms like Kathakali, Koodiyaattam etc.,

During the last Nisagandhi Festival of Dance, I had suggested that our Tourism sector should come forward to promote folk arts,  so as to encourage and support the artistes who may be struggling due to lack of opportunities. Today, while Saigramamlaunches its social tourism initiative to support folk arts and artistes, I feel happy that the suggestion has been considered and a good beginning made.

As we all know, social tourism aims at making tourism available to the poor people who otherwise could not afford to travel for their education and recreation. The International Social Tourism Organization (ISTO)has conceived social tourism as a method of ensuring greater access to holidays and tourism activities for everyone. Social Tourism must ensure the participation of the disadvantaged layers of society. We also need to promote social tourism as a driving force of development in domestic tourism.


I am happy that Saigramam has incorporated many activities and programmes in its social tourism. The attempt to revive the vanishing traditional art forms of Kerala would certainly allow visitors to feel the pulse of our culture, society and rural life.  Moreover, the tourist gets an opportunity to spend a day with the artistes so that they can get a better idea about the art form. The attempt to popularize concepts like Gram Swaraj, Joy of Story Telling, Voyage through village craftsetc., would certainly give better exposure to our performers and artists and add value to the tourism services provided by Kerala.

In this context, I would remind Saigramam authorities to popularize the Guru-Shishya parampara schemefor promoting Tourism. Various governments, the Indian Council of Cultural Relations etc., have this Mentor - student scheme to train people interested in folk arts and crafts. I feel that community-based tourism also should have a strong component of social tourism. We have seen how Rural tourism is gaining   priority by showcasing rural life, art, culture and heritage at rural locations. The people's interactions with the tourists can benefit the local community economically and socially. You may be aware that the Central Ministry of Tourism has identified over 153 rural tourism projects covering most of our States. Since Kerala has such an enchanting rural beauty, more and more social tourism sites need to be identified and developed.

We should make use of social tourism projects as opportunities for mainstream tourists visiting Kerala to contribute towards conservation and local development. I am happy that true to the spirit of social tourism, Saigramam has given due consideration to inclusive growth, sustainable development and human values while developing this tourism package. Arrangements made for interested tourists to stay, learn and experience the programmes, would being good results.

I consider this project as an opportunity for Kerala to strengthen its Rural and Responsible tourism initiatives. I hope that the social tourism initiative would also consider training children of the local community in the art forms and crafts that are displayed here so that the tradition of Kerala's arts would live on.  This is important, because even our own people are now not aware of many of our traditional art forms. 

I am sure that the presence of Shri Nedumudi Venu, noted actor would inspire many people, since he is also well versed in our traditional art and theater forms. Let me also congratulate Major Ravi, film maker on being conferred the Sathya Sai Puraskar. Shri Gopakumar, the architect of the social tourism project also deserves our praise.

I appreciate the single minded devotion and determination of Shri K.N. Anadakumar in conceiving and executing such an innovative and unique tourism project. I also greet all the artistes and craftsmen who are participating in the social tourism project and hope they would benefit from their participation.

Ellaavarkkum Ente Aashamsakal


Jai Hind