Caravan Tourism: Next big thing for Kerala Tourism after houseboats in three decades
Rising to the demands and preferences of tourists in the post-pandemic world, Kerala announced a comprehensive, stakeholder-friendly Caravan Tourism Policy, promising the visitors a safe, customized, and closest-to-nature travel experience.
“This marks a paradigm shift in almost three decades after the state made it big with houseboat tourism that provided a unique experience to visitors and positioned the state as a major global destination,” Tourism Minister P A Mohamed Riyas said while unveiling the policy which offers attractive investment subsidy to Caravan operators.
“Like other successful tourism products of Kerala launched since 1990s, Caravan Tourism is also to be developed on PPP mode with private investors, tour operators and local communities being key stakeholders,” Shri Riyas said at a press conference
He said investment subsidy would be given to Caravan operators, the details of which would be announced soon.
“The policy envisages laying down the broad framework for the development and encouragement of Caravan Tourism in Kerala, predominantly in the private sector through incentivizing the purchase of caravans and for establishing caravan parks, chalking out the process and procedures for its operations and approvals”, the Minister added.
On this occasion, Riyas also unveiled the logo of Caravan Tourism. The project will be rolled out in the next few months.
“Caravan Tourism imparts an added thrust to the State’s inclusive approach of leveraging the tourism potential of the entire state by bringing to attention many an unexplored spot side-by-side the promotion of established destinations. Every unexplored destination can be made accessible with the rollout of this meticulously drawn-up policy,” said Dr. Venu V, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism.
The two major components of this activity are Tourism Caravans and Caravan Parks. While the first involves specially-built vehicles for travel, leisure, and stay, the Caravan Parks are designated places to park the vehicles and enable the visitors to spend a night or a day or station for an extended period to explore the destination.
Caravan Tourism will also promote Responsible Tourism activities for sustainable growth and for the benefit of the local communities, promote eco-friendly practices, and market for local products.
“Going by Kerala’s inherent strengths of natural beauty and tourism-friendly -culture, Caravan Tourism has immense scope for the state. Besides offering a
refreshing experience for the tourists, local communities stand to gain substantially by enabling them to showcase their culture and products before
the visitors”, said V R Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism.
There will be two types of caravans. In one model, two guests shall be accommodated, while the other is for a family of four members.
The tourism caravans will have all the necessary facilities for a comfortable stay such as sofa-cum-bed, kitchenette with fridge and microwave oven, dining table, toilet cubicle, partition behind the driver, Air-conditioner, internet connectivity, audio-video facilities, charging system, and GPS.
Eco-friendliness being a major feature of Caravan Tourism, preferably Bharat Stage VI compliant vehicles will be pressed into service. Assuring complete security of the guests, there will be IT-enabled real-time monitoring of caravans.
A fool-proof approval mechanism is also put in place for according approval for the operation of caravans based on the procedures set by the State Motor Vehicles Department in accordance with the Central Motor Vehicles Rules.
The caravan parks are to be developed in the private sector, public sector, or in the joint sector. The configuration of parks will vary from location to location, even though the fundamental attributes remain the same.
A caravan park will be a completely safe and secure zone offering a hassle-free and stress-free environment to tourists, protected with necessary features like a compound wall, adequate security, and safety arrangements, patrolling, and surveillance cameras. The Park authorities will maintain effective coordination with local authorities and medical establishments to attend to medical emergencies.
The minimum land required for a park will be 50 cents, with at least 5 parking bays. The park design should be compatible with its surroundings, causing the least possible disturbance to the site. Landscaping and plantation have to be planned to ensure privacy, green cover and take into account such factors as wind, dust, and noise.
The parks in hilly and ecologically fragile areas will have to incorporate creative architecture in conformity with local heritage. The parks should have proper water harvesting structures. There should be strategically located open space for recreation, a forecourt, drive-in area, and turning circles. The parks will have Tourist Facilitation Centres to inform the visitors of amenities and services available.
Berthing of MV Empress to mark revival of domestic tourism
Signalling the re-opening of the pandemic-hit tourism sector in Kerala for upcountry visitors, a luxury cruise from Mumbai with 1,200 travellers on board is reaching Kochi tomorrow (September 22).
The luxury liner MV Empress, owned by Cordelia Cruises, will anchor at Cochin Port, Willingdon Island, at 5 am.
Around 800 guests on the ship, hailing from various states, will disembark at Kochi to explore a slice of the rich culture and history of the port city, in an on-shore tour adhering to Covid-19 protocols.
The tourists will be taken to Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, touching several points of historical importance for which the area is famed. A boat ride on the backwaters will unfold the mesmerising beauty of the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’ before the visitors.
Kerala Tourism Minister Shri P A Mohamed Riyas said, “The arrival of domestic tourists marks a promising start to the full-scale resumption of Kerala Tourism, overcoming the pandemic-induced crisis. This trend is set to gain pace in the coming days. “
“Kerala is a safe and secure place for the lock-down weary vacationers to come as we have put in place an efficient and meticulous bio-bubble model to create protective layers of inoculated service providers to receive and host tourists,” the Minister added.
Dr Venu V, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism, said, “Tourism sector in Kerala is fast reconfiguring itself from the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. All destinations across the state are getting ready to receive guests. We are looking forward to a busy season ahead.”
Shri V R Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism, said, tourism activities in Kerala is regaining its full pace. The recently announced visitor and stakeholder friendly Caravan Tourism policy will expedite the process.
The cruise ship will leave for Kadamat, the Lakshadweep, in the afternoon . Voyager Kerala is the tour agent of the Kochi sight-seeing of the trip.
Welcoming Elite Partners - Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Saudi Tourism Authority
Asia’s Largest Travel Trade Show with over 900 buyers expected to be in attendance for the 5 days all-virtual show co-located with MICE Show Asia and Travel Tech Asia
Singapore, 15 September 2021 – The countdown to ITB Asia Virtual 2021 has begun. The show, which takes place from 25 – 29 October 2021 virtually, is seeing a high demand from tourism organisations and partners. As the tourism industry shows promising signs of recovery, the event sees increasing uptake of travel trade buyer registrations, as more trade professionals are looking to explore business opportunities and to connect with travel trade suppliers and partners.
Elite Partners Announced
For the first time, Berlin Brandenburg Airport and Saudi Tourism Authority are announced as Elite Partner of this year’s ITB Asia 2021 Virtual, Asia’s leading travel trade show. As Elite Partners, both organisations will be represented at ITB Asia 2021 Virtual with several session including live webinars exclusively curated for the Asian travel trade market and a welcome speech. Digital visitors will be able to connect with the partners via live chat functions during their session(s).
Strong Tourism Organisation participation for 2021
The premier meeting place for the travel trade industry, ITB Asia is seeing strong participations from the National Tourism Organisations (NTOs) like Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Japan National Tourism Organisation, Maldives Marketing Tourism Promotion, Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy of the Republic of Indonesia, Saudi Tourism Authority, Singapore Tourism Board, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and Visit Scotland.
In addition to the NTOs, the show welcomes other key Tourism Organisations including Busan Tourism Organisation, Business Events Perth, Jeju Convention & Visitors Bureau, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board, Penang Global Tourism, Sabah Tourism Board, Saint Petersburg Convention Bureau, Sapporo Convention Bureau, Sarawak Tourism Board, Shibuya Convention Bureau, Suruga Marketing & Tourism Bureau, Visit Iseshima Bureau, Yokohama Convention & Visitors Bureau and Zagreb Tourist Board.
Participating Tourism Organisations will be showcasing their latest products and services for the travel industry. A number of them will be sharing key insights and presenting travel trends in the conference of ITB Asia 2021 Virtual. The tourism organisations, with their co-exhibitors will be available online to network with virtual trade visitors and buyers. Attendees can also conduct virtual business appointments via social video and messaging functions. (From 25 – 29 October, 5 full days)
Exhibiting hotels and resorts at ITB Asia 2021 Virtual
Among this year’s exhibiting hotels and resorts at ITB Asia 2021 Virtual are Best Western Hotels & Resorts Asia, Far East Hospitality, Frasers Hospitality, Meliá Hotels International, Park Hotel Group, WorldHotels Collection, Worldwide Hotels and Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.0
Kerala is working towards a four-fold increase in the number of startups by aiming to take their total to 15,000 in the next five years, Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan said today.
To realise the plan, the government will set up technology labs and incubators that will play a critical role for nascent firms to transformthe state into a knowledge society,he said after inaugurating a pioneering digital hub by the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) at Kalamassery, 15 km north of this city.
Since internet connectivity is crucial for the growth of startups, authorities have already come up with complementary projects such as K-Fon. The government will continue to ensure equitable distribution of resources while building an innovation ecosystem, the Chief Minister pointed out at the function marking the opening of the KSUM’s facility that aims to host a vibrant ecosystem comprising incubators, accelerators and Centres of Excellence in emerging technologies.
“The work space totalled two lakh square feet in 2019 when KSUM opened Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ). Today, the Digital Hub has helped double that space,” Shri Vijayan said, pointing out that KSUM provides interest-free loans to startups. Venture funding with a corpus of Rs 750 crore will be made available. Besides venture capital worth Rs 250 crores are anticipated from financial institutions such as Kerala Bank, KSIDC, KFC and KSFE.
In his virtual address at the event amid the physical presence of Cabinet colleague Shri P Rajeeve, among others, Shri Vijayan stressed the “growing importance” of knowledge, innovation and creativityin a world where best ideas win in the market. “We are particular that shortage of funds should not stand in the way of conversion of a brilliant innovative idea into marketing reality,” he noted, referring to Digital Hub’sprospective emergence as one of South Asia’s largest product development centers for technology startups.
As Kerala’s startups will be linked internationally in a big way, KSUM will find its place on the global technological map. “We will organize programmes such as ‘Innovation Challenge’ for the youths to prove their competence. The winners will get government assistance to market their product,” the Chief Minister said.
The state capital of Thiruvananthapuram is envisaged to become a hub of AI (artificial intelligence). “The Covid-19 times have shown us the vitality of data collection, distribution and analysis. Considering this, the government is looking at the scope for strengthening the data parks,” Shri Vijayan added, stressing the need for lesser dependence on foreign countries for software and hardware.
Tailor-made to this vision, the state-of-the-art Digital Hub at Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ) occupies 2 lakh square feet of built-up space with a capacity to support 200 startups, besides the 165 startups hosted in the adjoining Integrated Startup Complex of KSUM. Housing a design incubator, healthcare incubator, CoE (Center of Excellence) for Mouser Electronics, co-working spaces, design studios, investors hive and an innovation center, the hub is envisaged to be a destination for designing and prototyping, opening for international organisations and institutions to build world-class products.
Minister for Law, Industries and Coir Shri P. Rajeeve, in his presidential address, said the government was determined to go ahead with its plans to encourage the state’s young entrepreneurs. “We are giving focus to the semiconductor sector and are in talks with companies in Belgium,” he pointed out.
Shri Hibi Eden, MP, felicitating the KSUM, called upon the government to open innovation-promoting academic courses in the state. Infosys Co-founder Shri Kris Gopalakrishnan said the coming three decades hold a brighter path for young entrepreneurs compared to the past 30 years.
Principal Secretary (Electronics & IT) Shri Biswanath Sinha, welcoming the gathering, said the government is charting a special scheme for startups that function outside the IT sector.“KSUM effectively charts the future of the youth in Kerala,” he added. Chief Secretary Dr V P Joy and KIIFB CEO Shri K M Abraham were present.
KSUM Chief Executive Officer Shri John M. Thomas proposed thanks.
The CoE at the Digital Hub aims to groom shelter-related ideas and innovations, and will function as a one-stop centre for all product-design and development activities for software and hardware components. These include all sectors and emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality/virtual reality, internet of things and natural language processing.
The Digital Hub comes at a time when Kerala is giving extra focus on building the end-to-end process from ideation stage to prototype stage of a product, capitalising on its unique combination of assets. The coastal state, with its logistical and maritime advantage, has a rich talent in engineering design, a Digital Fabrication Network, a Super Fablab and a hardware incubator named Maker Village, besides small-scale manufacturing clusters, industrial corridors and maker communities.
TIZ is being established in a 13.2-acre land at KINFRA Hitech Park in Kalamassery, envisioning a one-stop destination for technology innovation that encapsulates everything from the consolidation of the idea, to its incubation, acceleration and to mentor support to set up an enterprise and even a squadron of angel investors ready to invest in a bankable idea. The Zone has a total built-up area of 4 lakh sq ft. Currently its first phase is operational with two buildings: Integrated Startup Complex (ISC) and Biotechnology Incubation Centre, with an overall built-up area of 2.3 lakh sq ft.
KSUM, as the state’s 2006-founded nodal agency for entrepreneurship development and incubation activities, has been primarily designated to establish and operate the TIZ as a global innovation incubator hub for various technology sectors. The Zone comprises Incubators, Accelerators, built-up start-up modules, COEs, high-end fabrication labs, R&D lab facilities, office spaces and amphitheatre among other facilities.0
The Kerala government will consider beautifying city spaces in all districts by bringing them under the purview of the “Arteria Fresco project” whose third phase is under implementation in the capital city, Tourism Minister Shri P.A. Mohamed Riyas said today.
He was speaking to mediapersons after monitoring the artwork at the Palayam Underpass in the state capital.
“The idea is not just to deck up the looks of our cityscapes, but gift a positive energy to their visitors,” Mr Riyas added.
The colourful images at the Palayam Underpass were being done as part of the 2015-initiated Arteria, which is a Tourism Department initiative that seeks to render the city walls with paintings by renowned artists.
Being implemented in coordination with the District Tourism Promotion Council, Arteria has been seeing the conversion of walls and fences of public, private and cooperative ownership into canvases of artistic creativity in the past six years.
The project’s first two phases (in 2015 and ’16) envisaged 25-odd paintings by as many renowned artists, gaining the vitality to change the face of the historical city. Arteria succeeded in completing a work by the renowned K.G. Subramanyan (1924-2016) without the supervision of the Kerala-born master.
In January this year, the paintings under Arteria were brightened up after the works had dulled amid the rainy spells and summer seasons in the past half a decade.
Currently, a third phase (2021) of Arteria plans murals along Akkulam bypass at Kuzhivila Junction, St Joseph’s School and the Museum besides at the 2005-completed Palayam Underpass.
The current 3rd phase of the project features around 20 graffiti artists, and their team members from across the state.0