The Responsible Tourism initiative being implemented on a pilot basis by Kerala Tourism in Kovalam, Kumarakom, Thekkady and Wayanad has received a fillip with the community evincing better interest in the project.
Foreseeing the demand in the peak tourism season, self-help groups under the Kudumbasree are supplying local produce to hotels, resorts, home-stays and restaurants at these destinations.
Local produce are sourced from Kudumbasree units, homestead farmers and farmer groups. In addition to the 25 production units at Kumarakom, another 58 units have come up. Around 1,500 people are directly involved in local production here.
“The community’s increasing receptiveness to the initiative is evident from the fact that six schools and the police station at Kumarakom are cultivating vegetables on their premises,” sources said.
The sale of vegetables and non-perishable items to hotels and resorts by the local community at Kumarakom touched Rs.1.46 lakh in October this year compared to Rs.71,868 during the same period last year. The cumulative revenue generated through the initiative since March 2008 crossed Rs.17 lakh.
As part of the social responsibility component of the initiative, a community tourism safety committee was set up at Kumarakom. The committee monitors safety measures in the wake of a recent boat tragedy.
Eco-friendly practices have got an impetus with the massive production of cloth bags to eliminate plastic carry bags. More than 100 members of self-help groups under Kudumbasree will be given raw materials and machinery to manufacture cloth bags in a project supported by the grama panchayat.
The initiative is progressing at the Vythiry cluster with source support from nine Kudumbasree units, two tribal societies and 20 individual producers. The total sale through the Responsible Tourism outlets in October was Rs.60,000. At Thekkady, market pressure from adjacent Kambam in Tamil Nadu is a big concern for those supplying vegetables to hotels and resorts. To counter this, Kudumbasree units had revised the strategy by focussing on non-perishable items. As many as 15 supply groups of Kudumbasree are getting ready with more than 10 non-perishable produce.