Poochakkal: The major tourism hub of Alappuzha is all set to kickstart various Responsible Tourism projects after several of its tourism opportunities were lost due to the floods, frequent hartals and strikes. The projects would be started in July.
The initiative would follow the model of the Responsible Tourism that was successfully implemented in Kumarakom, another renowned tourist destination. It is being implemented as a special project as part of the Responsible Tourism Mission of the tourism department.
The project would help tourists get a taste of local life, the cultural heritage and cuisine. More number of tourists are in district now due to the various water sport events. The project that aims to cash in on the monsoon tourism would also benefit the houseboat tourism.
Artists, farmers, handicraft experts, fisherfolks and coir workers, auto-taxi drivers and groups can register for the mission. With the name and other details uploaded on the website, the hotels and resorts can contact them directly, without involving middlemen. Around 1,200 groups have completed the registration formalities. Of these 350 are artists.
Projects in first phase
The projects planned in the first phase include Kalari and fishing at Cheerapan Chira in Muhamma panchayat, and weaving cloth bags at Kainakary. As part of the golden fibre tour project, tourists can visit the coir industries of Alappuzha. Tourists can also take part in cycle safari from Mararikulam to Kuttanad and relish the Onam sadya in the warm ambience of a local home. They can register for the lunch-at-home project.
Kakkathuruthu island to benefit
Kakkathuruthu island in the Ezhupunna gramapanchayat attained global recognition after the National Geographic magazine listed it among the must-visit places across the globe. The sunset view from here was what specifically wooed the renowned magazine. The tiny island stretches for 3 km along the Kaithapuzha backwaters, part of the Vemabanad Lake. Around 350 families live in the island that has a width of a mere 1km. The country boat is the only means of transportation to the main land. The narrow lanes on the island, the areas set up for fishing and backwater safari are its main attractions.
The responsible tourism was kickstarted in Kerala in 2007. After the trial projects at Thekady and Vythiri succeeded, it was implemented at Kumbalangi, Bekal, and Ambalavayal by 2012. The project envisages to better the standards of living of the local people along with the growth in tourism. Vegetables, fish and meat would be collected for houseboats in the district. The organic vegetable farming and fishing sectors in Mararikulam would be linked to the houseboat tourism.
Vegetables, fish and meat for a two-bedroom house boat would cost up to Rs 2,000 every day. Resorts and homestays shell out more for these on a daily basis. The project plans to let the local people benefit from these. The details of those groups that have registered would be handed over to tourism sites, hotels and resorts this week. For registration, submit two photos, a copy of Aadhaar card along with the application at the office near to the Punnamada tourism centre. Phone: 8547208523.
"The project gives importance to related industries and create job opportunities locally. As part of the mission, people would be trained as community tour leaders and this would eliminate the harassment by middlemen. The small-scale products would also be able to find a market," explained S Harish, who is the mission coordinator of the Responsible Tourism project in Alappuzha.