Kerala announces Caravan Tourism policy

With the cash spinning tourism industry in Kerala badly affected by the Covid pandemic, Kerala Tourism is reinventing itself through new products and one such product – Caravan Tourism was launched here on Wednesday by State Tourism Minister P.A. Mohammed Riyas.

“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,” said Riyas and added in the post-pandemic world, Caravan Tourism Policy will be promising the visitors safe, customized and closest-to-nature travel experience.

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”, added Riyas.

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.

V. Venu, additional Chief Secretary, Tourism said, 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.

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.

The caravan parks are to be developed in 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 hassle-free and stress-free environment to tourists, protected with necessary features like 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.

These parks would 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.