Kerala, God’s Own Country, is full of magic. From mist-engulfed Western Ghats and mysterious mangroves to the heart-warming sights of tea states and marigold fields, there is just so much to experience in this mesmerizing southern Indian state.
Amongst its countless striking features, being a pro at sustainable tourism seems to have overwhelmed the hearts of India and the world alike.
So, what can we learn about sustainable tourism in Kerala? If you want to know, continue reading this article.
The Responsible Tourism Mission
Kerala is the first state of India to launch an idea related to responsible tourism - the responsible tourism mission, which tends to focus not just on the travelers who visit Kerala, but also takes care of the needs of the locals who live in the state.
Most tourists only want to make their state better for the tourists. They would cut beautiful jungles to make space for more concrete and would even ignore the local people and their ideas regarding the expansion of tourists’ demands.
With Kerala’s Responsible Tourism Mission, the change has already begun. Under this project, the focus is laid on issues like eradication of local poverty, developing villages and local communities as well as finding means to empower local women - you see, the keyword here is local.
Under this Mission, several projects related to culture, village-life, economic, and social experiences in Kerala have been successfully launched and completed.
Vocational training to local entrepreneurs and artisans integrate with tourism
Several entrepreneurs and talented artists are trained under Kerala’s RT Mission to develop their skills and work with the tourism department to sell their products to the tourists or hotels, etc.
The eco-friendly cloth bags have thus replaced plastic bags, along with many conscious products being introduced to the local homestays, hotels, and other market linkages. The opportunity thus, also provides a means of livelihood to the artists and micropreneurs.
Bringing back the forgotten art forms of the state
The state and its organizations have introduced several travel or art packages that allow tourists to get up and close with the timeless art forms of the state. However, the art forms aren’t limited to dance, music, or performing. It also includes packages to experience the grand festivals of the country, how the local artists live, and even, the history of the arts of Kerala.
Accommodations with plastic-free zones and more
The local homestays, even those that offer luxury stays, are conscious about the detrimental effects of the environment on nature. So, properties like Spice Village in Thekkady runs on 70% solar energy and doesn’t allow even percent of plastic use within its premises. The place also collects rainwater and recycles paper waste, and uses their own water bottles, among other conscious decisions.
There is a vegan homestay in the state as well - the first of its kind in the country, where of course, the food is completely plant-based and thus, supports low carbon emission. The property collects rainwater and features compost toilets and home-made vegan food, all their profits go to a charity that improves welfare of stray animals.
When it comes to sustainable tourism in India and the world, we still have a long way to go. However, Kerala has given us that ray of hope that will surely guide us through the end of the tunnel at the end of which we will surely find the light to keep going and growing responsibly.
The next time you visit Kerala, remember to stay in a vegan yet luxurious homestay because now, you can!
Blob - Kerala is all about beauty but so much more, like supporting sustainable tourism like no other country in the world. So, here is a sneak-peek into the missions and actions that Kerala has and is determined to take to make travel worth it for both locals as well as tourists.