Kerala teams up with UNESCO to promote Spice Route

Spices on sale at a roadside stall in Varkala, Kerala
Spices on sale at a roadside stall in Varkala, Kerala

Kerala Tourism has signed an agreement with UNESCO to preserve the state’s heritage and promote the ancient ‘Spice Route’.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed recently between Kerala Tourism’s secretary Suman Billa, and UNESCO’s director for India, Shigeru Aoyagi, which will lay the foundations for future cooperation. The move is expected to not only help preserve Kerala’s historic and cultural identity, but also boost the state’s tourism sector.

“The Spice Route project is a new milestone in the growth of tourism in Kerala. It is a revival of the ancient Spice Route that connected 31 countries,” said Anil Kumar, Kerala’s state tourism minister.

“For the project to be successful it needs the support from all the 31 countries. That is why we have sought the cooperation of UNESCO,” he added.

The Spice Route stretched from Europe to Africa, India and East Asia, as merchants transported highly valuable spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, pepper, saffron and turmeric. Kerala was a major centre of this trade, and its wealth brought traders and settlers from across the world.

Under the new MoU with UNESCO, several historical areas with connections to the Spice Route will be developed and promoted.

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