Kerala to tap soft-adventure tourism potential

Amidst expectations of a gradual rebound in tourism, Kerala is taking up a gear to develop a new brand of tourism through the strides of its waterbodies. Combining skill and muscle, it offers the visitor a rare combination of exploration and wilderness on water.

With over 40 kayak units waiting for the government nod besides the existing 10 licensed units, the State is now looking to pitch itself as a hub of soft adventure tourism. The majority of these enterprises has been registered with the Responsible Tourism Mission Kerala, ensuring engagement of the local communities as well.

According to P.A. Mohamed Riyas, Tourism Minister, the maze of natural waterbodies that crisscrossed the State provided for bountiful kayaking opportunities while also ensuring protection of these water routes. “The plan is to systematically develop the adventure tourism potential of different types of waterbodies including rivers, canals, backwaters and even the sea,’‘ he said.

Confirming the trend, K. Rupesh Kumar, coordinator, RT Mission Kerala, said activities such as kayaking were fast catching up with experiential tourists in Kerala. As many as three units that received training under the mission had already become functional while 10 others had completed training and awaiting government approval.

“It is an approach that encourages sustainability and helps the visitor explore the tropical scenery that was once off-limits to the visitor and engages the local communities,” explained Mr. Rupesh Kumar. Paddling, according to him, was one the first activities in the recently opened water street at Maravanthuruth in Kottayam.

Binu Kuriakose, chief executive officer of the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), said soft adventure would become an integral part of Kerala Tourism once the government chucked out the stipulation of a No-Objection Certificate from the local bodies concerned for opening paddling units. The proposal, which was currently under consideration of the Tourism and Local Self-Government departments, took a cue from a similar amendment brought in for homestays last month.

“The response for the various kayak expeditions and training programmes have been overwhelming. For instance, about 75 persons took part in a 12- km-long kayak expedition from Parassinikadavu to Azheekodu in Kannur this summer while about 15 kayakers including a foreigner are currently practicing at the Tusharagiri waterfalls in Kozhikode for the upcoming South Indian White Water Kayaking Festival in August,’‘ said Mr. Kuriakose.

The KATPS, in association with the RT Mission would also organise a training session in Kayaking for 20 persons at the Indian Canoeing and Kayaking Association facility at Alappuzha later this month . Additionally, a batch of 10 fishermen from Kozhikode would receive training in sea surfing at Varakala and Kovalam, who would be opening a tourism enterprise at Beypore.

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2022 9:10:40 pm |