Caravan tourism, the Kerala government’s pathbreaking initiative that aims to provide a novel experience to tourists and encourages active participation of local communities, has evoked an enthusiastic response. Following successful roadshows in Europe and the Middle East, and various partnership meets in four major metro cities in India, Kerala Tourism is aggressively promoting the project across the country. “The caravan policy marks a strategic shift to present the entire state before the global audience based on the concept of ‘exploring the unexplored’ round the year,” Kerala’s tourism minister P A Mohammed Riyas said, adding that the government has announced a comprehensive stakeholder-friendly policy to encourage this segment.
While caravans are specially-built vehicles for travel and leisure, caravan parks are designated areas to park the vehicles and facilitate the visitors to spend a night or a day or for an extended period to explore a destination. In its caravan policy announced in September last year, the Kerala government has ensured the concept is environment-friendly. For example, one of the norms set for vehicles being used as caravans is that they should comply with the BS-VI norms of emission.
While 10 caravans operated by six operators including the state-run Kerala Tourism Development Corporation have begun operations, as many as 500 caravans are waiting to hit the road soon. “The reason for a buoyant response is that, unlike in other states, instead of operating the caravans or caravan parks, the government is a facilitator and has created the right ecosystem for the project,” Kerala tourism director V R Krishna Teja said.