Kerala

High lands of Kottayam to offer experiential tour packages

As the tourism sector in Kottayam gradually rebounds from the pandemic-induced slump, the villages on its high ranges are preparing to roll out the welcome mats to the guests.

According to officials, as many as 20 villages located along the rolling tropical hills of Kottayam such as Manimala, Kanjirappally and Erumeli etc. will soon come up with a host of tourism products and services that are cent percent locally owned. As part of it, the Responsible Tourism (RT) Mission Kerala has launched efforts to develop the destination code of conduct for these villages so as to include them in its experiential tourism circuits.

“Most of these villages have stand-alone visitor attractions like a hilltop or waterfalls. If the tourists are already hiking these places, why not attract them to visit the village too?” asks an official with the RT mission.

The initiative, according to him, takes a cue from the success of the similar projects in the village destinations like Kumarakom and Vaikom. The moderate weather prevailing in these hills coupled with the tropical greenery make these foothills of the Western Ghats a perfect destination for day-visits.

Under the project, the rural lifestyles, art activities, taste diversity and agriculture will all be developed as tourist attractions. For instance, tourists visiting the Ilaveezha Poonchira or Illikkal Kallu in Melukavu or Moonnilavu villages will be offered chance to visit the plantations nearby, interact with the farmers and labourers, learn about their daily life, techniques in extracting and processing the crop.

Considering that the local self-government institutions have a key role in making this project a success, the RT Mission has also kickstarted the training sessions for the ward members in these panchayats. This will be followed by the training for the resource persons, organisation of special tourism gramasabhas, mapping of the local tourism resources, and development of accommodation units.

Based on these activists, tourism packages will be developed with special focus on the local development , while also generating employment and staying carbon neutral to the maximum possible extent.

With the accommodation facility for tourists to Kottayam predominantly located in its backwater region, these packages are also expected to extend their stay at these locations, adds the official.

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Printable version | Apr 13, 2021 3:00:49 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/high-lands-of-kottayam-to-offer-experiential-tour-packages/article34019845.ece

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