Kumarakom Responsible Tourism initiatives

Kumarakom Responsible Tourism initiatives

Kumarakom a rustic quaint village on the
banks of the Vembanad lake is one of the most sought-after backwater
destinations in the South Indian state of Kerala The village of Kumarakom is part of Kuttanad, a region dominated by agricultural activities some of the
cultivated lands in this region lie below the sea level. Kuttanad are spread over Alappuzha, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta districts in the state of Kerala
is marked by many unique and fascinating geographical features. About a hundred and fifty years back Henry Baker a young Englishman decided to settle down at
Kumarakom due to its captivating beauty. He converted part of the backwaters into paddy fields and started rice cultivation Baker is also credited
for pioneering the cultivation of rubber on man-made embankments Besides his interest in agriculture Baker also took care of the environment At Kumarakam he planted mangroves for protecting the embankments He also left a sizable portion of the land undisturbed for the birds which later developed into a bird
sanctuary and eventually turned out as a biological intervention for pest
management In the late 70s the legal heirs of Henry
Baker handed over the land to the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC). The story of Kumarkom as a tourist destination begins from there. Within three decades Kumarakom earned the reputation of a
world-renowned backwater destination. The extent of tourism development that took place in Kumarakom led to new situations that emerge due to voluntary relocation
of local residents and grievances from the part of those who stayed Back those who remained were not satisfied with the social and economic benefits generated
by tourism development in their area they also aired concerns with regard to
over exploitation of resources and environmental degradation The situation slightly warranted the introduction and practice of responsible tourism in
Kumarakom which had already made its impact in other parts of the world. Responsible tourism has at its core the
development of local community by sharing the social economic benefits
triggered by tourism related activities at a destination Department of Tourism, Government of
Kerala envisaged a plan jointly with the Kumarakom Panchayat the local self
administration body and Kudumbasree a self-help group for women a destination level responsible tourism committee and a responsible tourism cell were also
formed as part of the initiative to work under the guidance of the Kumarakom Panchayat NETPAC the nodal agency selected for implementing responsible
tourism projects in the state formed a technical support unit in association
with the Kumarakom panchayat While all these were happening it was felt
that there should be an agency to market the farm produces of local farmers to
hoteliers and also to protect the local producers from getting exploited by
intermediaries the selection of six female and two male entrepreneurs jointly by the Kudumbasree and Kumarakom Panchayat led to the formation of a
micro enterprise unit called Samruthi the general grievance of the local
people at Kumarakom was that the players in the tourism industry did not
bother to buy the local produce But a detailed study revealed that the hotels couldn’t buy the local products unless and until regular supply of required
quantities round the year was ensured the situation was resolved by preparing
a farming calendar and fixing the share of produce for each farmer instead of
attempting to produce large quantities at a time individual outputs were worked
on the basis of quantity and time of the requirement of hoteliers this ensured stability to the system an imbalance between demand and supply. A committee consisting of the representatives of the panchayat, Responsible Tourism Cell, Kudumbasree and the District Tourism Promotion Council has been formed to
review and finalize the process of farm produces every month a micro-enterprise was formed to collect farm producers
from all possible local sources irrespective of the size of their output
this has enabled even a family living in a hundred square meter plot to sell
their produce without bothering about the quantity this could be two or three
plantain leaves one papaya or few mangos and in the process they could earn a
minimum of rupees 1500 a month and those without their own land cultivate by
taking land on lease individually or jointly. Certain Kudumbasree units are
following the model in Kumarakom A restaurant was also set up to serve food to tourists and local people in the traditional style. walking tours to
explore the lifestyle in the village of Kumarakom is quite a fascinating
experience for the visitors during these tours villagers share their experiences
with the visitors it could be sharing the know-how of certain technologies
like those employed in fishing or any other aspect of their daily life and
work. the artisans of the area also get a
chance to present their work before the travel community this in turn enables
them to fetch decent prices for their work and it is the same case with
artists in the region Environmental Protection and awareness creation is integral to responsible tourism campaign natural farming techniques, methods of
waste recycling, protection of biodiversity are some of the important
components Partners and stakeholders in the tourism industry giving proper
attention to such components are always given due recognition local development initiatives with community participation are also being taken up the concept and
practice of responsible tourism in Kumarakom tailor-made to promote
development in the region is already shown signs of success that would
further strengthen the overall development of the destination and it is only a matter of time before this success story of responsible tourism
gets replicated in other destinations in Kerala

5 thoughts on “Kumarakom Responsible Tourism initiatives

  1. Hope Responsible tourism (The First Initiative in the world )may be A Role Model for the World in the Tourism Industry from Kerala…

  2. South Indian state of Kerala is one of the most beautiful places of India and that’s why it is known as’God's Own Country’. Kerala offers a list of places by rich cultures, traditions and folk dances and known as the land of elephants, coconuts, backwaters and unique local cuisine. Kumarkom is one of best destination of Kerala, nice video. https://www.keralapackage.org/kerala-backwaters-houseboat-tour-packages

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