Category Archives: Places to Visit

Kollam Tourism : Zone 8

Visit to Shendureny Wildlife Sanctuary

Shendurney Wildlife Sanctuary is unique in its scenic beauty and authentic ambience of nature. Nature loving tourists are given a rare opportunity to stay inside the forests in specially built camping houses as part of the camping packages run by Shendurney Ecotourism. Along with jungle camping, tourists are offered vegetarian food, trekking, jeep safari , bird watching etc. Shendurney hosts such of 5 camping sites at– Idimuzhanganpara, Pallivasal, Rockwood and Kurunthotti valavu and Lake view ‘n’ Kalamkunnu. Shendurney ecotourism is unique and special from others by virtue of its unmatchable trekking and camping packages.

  • Kattalappara: It is known for historical caves and a hundred year old bridge
  • Kallar: It is located 1200 Ft above sea level with forests, waterfalls, caves and plantations
  • Ambanadu: It is 800 Ft above sea level, with orange, clove and tea plantations
  • Rosemala: It is 15 km inside forest is part of Agastyavanam Biosphere and has cardamom plantations, lake, waterfalls and remains of ancient civilization
  • Rajakoopu: It is 550 m above sea level, is a spice village settlement with clove and pepper plantations and trekking to Kurishupara

 

Kollam Tourism : Zone 7

Jadayu Earth Centre

Jatayu Nature Park’ unveils the advent of new milestone in the history of Kerala tourism, the ‘flag off’ to an experience, which challenges and supersedes the existing! The curtain to the much awaited tourism destination is all set to rise. Finally, Kerala tourism has a brand new destination ‘Jatayu Nature Park’ which marks the beginning of a much-awaited innovative stride in Tourism sector. ‘Jatayu Nature Park’ unravels a journey that reveals to you the beautifully interweaved set of compositions by Shri Rajiv Anchal, which brings together an experience that touches the varied dimensions of art, epics, history, technology, siddha and adventure. Set in the picturesque backdrop, the Jatayu sculpture stands as the symbol of gratitude towards the heroic deed of Jatayu in protecting Sita in the epic Ramayana and has its greater relevance in the modern context, as it is one of the earliest attributes in regard to women safety and honor. Jatayu Nature Park’ thus is the modern interpretation of a place that evolves from history, derives into it the aspects of the heritage, essence of nature, the divinity of pilgrimage, the fun and frolic of adventure, the technological extravaganza and the eco-friendly elements to weave out a place that truly defines the artistic panache of Shri Rajiv anchal.

Kollam Tourism : Zone 6

Palaruvi Water Falls

cno5w9wuiaegfzb.jpgPalaruvi – literally, stream of milk – is one of Kerala’s most picturesque waterfalls, cascading down a height of 300 feet. It is a favourite picnic spot for visitors from all over south India. The journey to Palaruvi through the dense tropical forest is a spellbinding experience. Palaruvi, which means stream of milk, makes its way down the rocks, from a height of 300 feet. It is a beautiful picnic spot. The surrounding mist-clad blue hills and green valleys form a stunning backdrop to the milk-white burst of foam whose muffled roar resounds through the otherwise tranquil virgin forest.

Thenmala Ecotourism Zone

It is India’s first planned eco-tourism destination, which is gaining popularity due to its unique vistas, bio-diversity and functioning. Situated about 72kms from Thiruvananthapuram, in the District of Kollam, the Thenmala Eco-Tourism shares its resources with the famous Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary at the foothills of the Western Ghats. The word Thenmala in the local language Malayalam has an interesting meaning. ‘Then’ means honey and ‘Mala’ means hill; and they combine to mean ‘Honey Hill’. It is believed that the honey collected from this region is of very good quality owing to its unique biological settings.

 

Kollam Tourism Zone 5

 Kottarakkara Kathakali Museum 

img_20151013_094135Kottarakkara Kathakali Museum is the major attraction that was built as the memorial of the father of Kathakali, Kottarakkara Thampuran. In this museum, an array of collection of antiques, ornaments, models of Kathakali, costumes, ornaments, musical equipments and sculptures of kathakali, costumes and models of dance forms. The place that we now call Mahaganapathy temple is actually Kizhakkekara Siva Temple. The main deity is none other than Lord Siva himself – Siva facing eastward. In fact Ganapathy is only a minor deity here. But the temple today is famous as a Ganapathy temple rather than a Siva temple.

 Malamel Rock & Temple 

Malamel is located at Arackal village in Edamulakkal Grama Panchayath. The place is noted for its beautiful locales, mainly high rising rocks that offer un- interruptive view for miles around. The main attraction is the ancient “Sankara Narayana” temple on the rock face. The temple has 5 doors and is considered to be divine and ancient because of the close proximity of Jadayupara (Chadayamangalam). It has also a cave at extreme left of the temple, into which a British Adventurer in the year 1946, tried in vain to venture, and which leads to the Kulathupuzha Forest. This cave is believed to be a haven for very venomous snakes. The rock spreads within 13 hectors of land. The “Nadukanippara” which has maximum height, offers a panoramic view.

Kottukal Rock Cut Cave Temple

img_20151013_120911The Temple is an idyllic example of rock cut temple architecture. This temple is situated in Ittiva Panchayath. It has two cells on either side with Sivalingams in each with a projection carrying the figure of Ganapathy at the centre. One of the niches of the sanctum sanctorum carries the figure of Hanuman near the monolithic Nandi, probably intended to remind the Nandi- Vanara episode in Ramayana.

 Kudukathu Para Eco-Tourism

Mesmerizing Kudukathupara is located 840 meters above sea level. You can walk up to as high as 780 metres. The sights that you see once you reach the top are breath-taking indeed. You can view four districts of Kerala and a bit of Tamil Nadu as well. For those of you heading at the drop of a hat to Munnar or Ponmudi to revel in the beauty of the Western Ghats, Kudukathupara will certainly be a revelation. With a treasure trove of majestic sights, this grandfather rock will amaze us. Almost 4 districts in Kerala can be seen from the top, and a small part of Tamil Nadu. When you look at Kudukathupara from various directions in other districts, this sole rock formation appears to take on different shapes and forms. This is a distinguishing factor in itself. The place is so silent, that the wind will carry the sound of even the slightest quiver of your lips. If hearty treks through dense forests are your thing, then Kudukathupara will not disappoint you.

Kulathupuzha Sastha Temple

kulathupuzha_in_kollam20140104112241_307_1Kulathupuzha Sastha Temple is a Hindu temple located on the banks of Kulathupuzha river, a tributary of Kallada River. It is located in Kulathupuzha in Pathanapuram tehsil of Kollam district in the Indian state of Kerala. The presiding deity there is Lord Ayyappa in the form of Balasastha.It is also one among the pancha sastha shrines and one of the 108 Sastha shrines in Kerala. The idol there is believed to be installed by Lord Parashurama, which is made up of eight pieces of stones.

Kollam Tourism : Zone 4

 Visit to Pozhikkara – Thanni Beach 

Pozhikara is considered as one of the heritage sites in Kerala. The place is very famous for its natural beauty. So many foreigners are coming to Paravur and Pozhikara to see the rare natural beauty of estuary, backwaters and beaches Pozhikara is holding an important position in the history of Paravur and Kollam City. Paravur was a famous trade hub for the foreign countries.

 Water Sports Activities at Kappil Beach 

Kappil beach and backwaters is a confluence of the sea, river and the backwater, this secluded, and picturesque spot is worth visiting. Various activities like Sea rafting, wave surfing, Banana Boat ride and much more is available at kappil beach. It will be an amazing time at the beach.

 Visit to Varkala Beach & Cliff 

Varkala beach is an ideal holiday destination in Kerala for the tourists who want a peaceful vacation. Counted as one of the top ten seasonal beaches in the world by discovery channel, this beach has a stunning beauty of landscapes, brown sand, and sea. It’s a perfect spot to relax with a laidback atmosphere. Popular for beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, this beach offers striking sunset views. It can simply take your breath away with its long winding stretch of cliff that expands over the Arabian Sea. Varkala Beach is also called Papanasam beach as it is believed that taking bath here wash away all sins. This beach is very famous for spa, mineral springs and Ayurveda centers, offering the best treatments and therapies. Cliff clad beaches and pretty vibrant environs give a joyous feel that attract beach lovers or honeymooners to spend holidays at this place. The edge of the cliff offers fascinating views of sand and sea. Holidaying in Varkala gives a pleasant experience, as there are many attractions that flock large numbers of tourist from all over the world. Varkala beach offers many beach activities like sightseeing, sunbathing, wind surfing, parasailing, and soaking in the beauty of this calm beach resort. It’s a beautiful place for someone who wants a peaceful atmosphere all around.

Visit to Varkala Aquarium

place-2016-12-13-11-89abdd4757830cada155cad1be8d070fAre kids travelling with you to Varkala? Are you wondering what exactly are the attractions specifically for kids, then no worries! Varkala Aquarium in Varkala is a perfect place to go on a date with your kids. Your kids will get to know more about the aquatic creatures and you all will have a gala time. Not just kids, but even adults can enjoy visiting this incredible place. Built as a spiral ram, the place is perfect to spend an hour or two and kill your time doing something fruitful.

Janardhana Swami Temple

janardana-swami-temple-varkala-9

This is a famous temple in the vicinity, which is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. It is 2000 years old temple and the festivals are celebrated here with great zest. It’s one of the major centers for doing homages to the ancestors.

 The Sivagiri Mutt

sivagiri_mutt_at_varkala20150811082157_277_1Located at the distance of 2.5 kms from Varkala, this ashram is dedicated to Sree Narayana Guru, who urged against inequity and was always in the favor of one religion, caste and one god for humanity.

 Anchengo Fort & Light House

Anjengo FortAt the distance of 15 km to the south of Varkala, this place has its own history with British ruling. You can feel the history when you visit the fort.

Kollam Tourism : Zone 3

 A Visit to Munroe Island

Munroe Island visit is know for its canoe boat rides through narrow channels of water across the village. The island village is a tourism destination where one can see the coir retting process, coir-weaving, fishing, prawns feeding, migratory bird watch, narrow canals and waterways, coconut farms on the lake shore, lagoons, mangrove plants and the beautiful tiny islands of Pathupara. Kallada Boat Race, which is one of the famous boat races in Kerala, is held here every year. The villagers depended on coconut coir manufacturing as livelihood. You should never miss the traditional canoe boat ride across the village. In 1795 the British established their supremacy in South India and the princely state of Travancore came under their governance. From 1800 onwards, East India Company as administrative head of Travancore appointed a Resident. The first Resident was Colonel Colin Macaulay, followed by Colonel John Munro. During his tenure Munro oversaw the land reclamation efforts in the delta where Kallada River joins Ashtamudi Lake and the reclaimed island was named after him as Munroe Island. The Dutch Church here in Munroe Island is one of the ancient churches in Kerala. The Dutch built it in 1878. The red brick church is a blend of Dutch-Kerala architecture on the scenic banks of Lake Ashtamudi.

Kollam Tourism : Zone 2

 Visit to Kollam Beach

It is situated right at the City Centre overlooking harbor and seaport. The beach also features a park of international standard, called the Mahatma Gandhi Park. It is an ideal location to enjoy the sunrise and sunset; it offers a mesmerizing view of the Arabian Sea. The view of the sea will keep you in trance for long. In the night thousands of fishing boats hovers the ocean with twinkling lights like a galaxy of stars. You can also enjoy street food, beach soccer, beach volley, kite flying and much more at the beach. Kollam is a port city and one time active harbor for Chinese ships and trade, Kollam Beach is home to Chinese fishing nets, Chinese water pots and sampan-like boats seen even today. Kollam Beach is the first ‘Beach Wedding Destination’ in Kerala.

St.Thomas Fort (Dutch Fort) at Tangasseri

 Portuguese-fort-Thangassery

“Thangasseri” literally means “Gold village” in Malayalam language. The place was named as Thangasseri because this was the place where trade was done using gold as the currency. Thangasseri Fort was the favorite spot of the Dutch and the Portuguese. The Thangasseri Fort was constructed in the 16th century and right now only the ruins are left behind. The fort was about 20 feet tall. In olden times, Thangasseri was of strategic importance to the colonial powers that were constantly trying to establish their control of trade on the Malabar Coast. As per records, the Portuguese initially approached the Rani of Quilon in 1517 to construct a factory at Thangasseri for trade purposes, which was granted. However, it is believed that the locals subsequently burned down the factory. Although the Portuguese were given permission to rebuild the factory, they decided to build a fort instead. In 1519, the Thangassery Fort was constructed strategically on a promontory overlooking the choppy waters of the Arabian Sea. Thangasseri was sequentially under the Dutch who defeated the Portuguese in 1761 and then passed into British hands with the rout of the Dutch at Kochi in 1795.

 Visit the Portuguese Cemetery at Tangasseri

Tangasseri-or-Thangassery-Kerala-India.-Author-and-Copyright-Prof-Rahul-Basu.

The Portuguese Cemetery (after the invasion of Dutch, it became Dutch Cemetery) of Tangasseri in Kollam city, India, was constructed around 1519 as part of the Portuguese invasion of the city. Buckingham Canal, a small canal between Tangasseri Lighthouse and the cemetery, is situated very close to the Portuguese Cemetery. A group of pirates known as the Pirates of Tangasseri formerly lived at the Cemetery. The remnants of St. Thomas Fort and Portuguese Cemetery still exist at Tangasseri.

Visit to Tangasseri Light House
01tvko-thangasseri_1705420e
Thangaserri Light House

Thangasseri or ‘Dutch Quilon’ as it was called, was once a British enclave. Meaning ‘gold village’ in local parlance, this was the hub of a flourishing trade that used gold as currency. This seaside village of historic importance shelters the ruins of an Old Portuguese fort and churches built during the 18th century. It is situated 5 km away from Kollam town in the state of Kerala. In operation since 1902, the cylindrical lighthouse tower painted with white and red oblique bands has a height of 41 metres (135 ft), making it the tallest lighthouse on the Kerala Coast. The beacon can be seen up to 13 miles out at sea. Check out the lighthouse at Thangasseri, which is open to visitors from 1530 – 1730 hrs. Get to see the sun setting and the moon rising simultaneously at Thangasseri on the drive down the Lighthouse Road, which gives you a breathtaking view of the sea as well. Lift facility has been installed at the lighthouse to help everyone reach the top of the lighthouse with ease.

 Visit to the Fishing Harbor and Breakwater

The fishery harbour at Tangasseri is a basin for traditional fishermen, achieved by the construction of two breakwaters. The length of the main breakwater is 2100 m and the leeward breakwater 550 m. This provides sufficient beach length for landing facilities for all operational craft.

 Visit to 8 point Art Café

It is an art gallery and café situated on the banks of Ashtamudi Lake. This is the first international standard art café in the city of Kollam. It’s a place were Art, Literature and Nature blends. It is a very calm and quiet place to enjoy a cup of Coffee or Tea. You can find many species of plants, birds and butterflies around the place.

Visit to Adventure Park

Asramam Adventure Park is an urban park in the core Kollam city of Kerala state. It was opened after 1980, on 48 acres of city-owned land. Located beside the Kerala’s pride, backwaters of Ashtamudi, this place popularly known as Asramam Picnic Village. The mangroves near this park are very famous in all over India. So many endangering species of trees are surviving here in the park. There are some activities for adventure lovers. You can also enjoy a very calm lakeside atmosphere. There is a small entrance fee at the gate. You can also book for boat trips from Kollam to Allepey.

 Explore Ashtamudi Lake 

Ashtamudi Lake is the most visited backwater and lake in the state. It possesses a unique wetland ecosystem and a large palm-shaped water body, second only in size to the Vembanad estuary ecosystem of the state. Ashtamudi means ‘eight coned’ in the local Malayalam language. The name is indicative of the lake’s topography with its multiple branches. The lake is also called the gateway to the backwaters of Kerala. Along both banks of the lake and its backwater canals, coconut groves and palm trees interspersed with towns and villages are seen. You can have a boat cruise of Ashtamudi Lake with rich Kerala Food. It will be once in a lifetime experience. Ashtamudi is calm and quite with rich flora and fauna.

Kollam Tourism : Zone 1

Visit Krishnapuram Palace

Krishnapuram-Palace1-KeralaToursGlobalThe Krishnapuram Palace is an ancient palace and museum. It was built in the 18th century by Anizham Thirunal Marthanda Varma (1729–1758 AD), the Travancore kingdom. It is built in the architectural style of Kerala with gabled roof, narrow corridor and dormer windows, near the Krishnaswamy Temple at Krishnapuram.

Visit Ayiram Thengu Mangroves Forest

Ayiramthengu is a small Village in Kollam. The mangrove forest at Ayiramthengu is now home to a variety of flora and fauna. It is the habitat of a number of creatures, marine and terrestrial. In between the red mangroves, the rare Lumnitzera racemosa species of mangroves can also be seen. The trunks and roots of these trees are the habitat of a number of creatures. The Mangroves are a nursery for a wide variety of fish species. The forest is also home to a colony of otters. The glittering, waxy green canopy of the forest provides a nesting place for a wide variety of migratory birds. We visit the Mangroves forest on a traditional boat.

Visit to Azheekal Beach

20111110-S2_D-0134It is one of the most unknown and untouched beaches on the coast of Arabian Sea. In Malayalam, Aazhee means place where the Back Waters and the Sea confluence. The Beach is famous for its White Sands. The evening views of the Sunset are worth lingering over. One of the main attractions is the small island near the Beach. Some of the islands are filled with Mangrove forests. A Pulimuttu, which is 0.5 km, extended in to the Sea. The Beach is also 8189922939_ba9aa222e7_ba good spot for flying Kites. The presence of Cheenavala adds to the scenic beauty of the Beach. Uniqueness about this beach is you can see dolphins at a very close distance, which is amazing. Wonder is very few know that there are dolphins here.

Visit to Kattil Mekathil Temple

The Temple at Ponmana near Chavara has the Arabian Sea on one side and the backwater on the other. Thousands of devotees from all over the country come to the tree to tie the sacred bells given to them from the temple. The devotees go round the tree seven times before they tie the bell onto it. At the seventh round, they make a wish and it will be fulfilled. The Banyan tree is covered with such bells tied by the devotees. The bells are blessed by the temple priest and given to the devotees for Rs 30 per piece. The temple also holds a “12 vilakku utsavam”, a festival lasting 12 days during which time devotees live on the temple premises in makeshift huts. The land on which the temple is located is filled with black sand rich in minerals like titanium dioxide. You need to take a ferryboat service to reach the temple.

Visit to Neendakara Fishing Harbor

Neendakara is a famous fishing harbor located around 8 km from Kollam district of Kerala, India. From here you can see the Ashtamudi Lake joining the sea from the Neendakara Bridge and also the Chinese fishing nets silhouetted against the sky.

Varkala Beach & Cliff

Varkala beach is an ideal holiday destination in Kerala for the tourists who want a peaceful vacation. Counted as one of the top ten seasonal beaches in the world by discovery channel, this beach has a stunning beauty of landscapes, brown sand, and sea. It’s a perfect spot to relax with a laid back atmosphere. Popular for beach activities like swimming and sunbathing, this beach offers a striking sunset views. It can simply take your breath away with its long winding stretch of cliff that expands over the Arabian Sea.

Varkala Beach is also called Papanasam beach as it is believed that taking bath here wash away all sins. This beach is very famous for spa, mineral springs and ayurvedic centers, offering the best treatments and therapies. Cliff clad beaches and pretty vibrant environs give a joyous feel that attract beach lovers or honeymooners to spend holidays at this place. The edge of the cliff offers fascinating views of sand and sea. Holidaying in Varkala gives a pleasant experience as there are many attractions that flock large numbers of tourist from all over the world. Summing up, it’s a wonderful destination to chill out and revitalize your senses at famous Ayurvedic massage centers available in many resorts of Varkala.

Activities to Do in Varkala Beach

Varkala beach offers many beach activities like sightseeing, sunbathing, wind surfing, parasailing, and soaking in the beauty of this calm beach resort. It’s a beautiful place for someone who wants a peaceful atmosphere all around. The warm pristine have short and quick waves that expand from 2 to 5 ft. Adventure freaks can hire surf gears on rent from the Surf and Soul school. The best time for surfing is from September to March. One who is interested in snorkeling may head to the Thiruvambadi beach or the Papanasham beach.

Undoubtedly, enjoying the Ayurvedic and yoga treatments from the famous Yoga and Ayurveda centers give a lovely experience. So, you can indulge in activities like Ayurvedic treatments, meditation and Yoga while holidaying at this beach. Apart from these, art/creative workshops are also offered over here. Shop ’til you drop at the eternal rows of huts running along the cliff, having everything from jewelry and to handicrafts.

Eating Out in Varkala

There are some popular restaurants in Varkala that offer delicious cuisines ranging from South Indian to Continental, Italian, and Chinese. Vegetarians need not have to worry as you can get vegetarian food at Jicky’s Rooms, Oottupura Vegetarian Restaurant, and Hotel Suprabhatham. The restaurant in the Taj Garden Retreat also offers tasty food. Café del Mar on the other side offer lip-smacking Indian, Italian and Mexican food. If you are nearby railway station, you may head to The Varkala Park Hotel. There are some beach shacks like Dolphin Bay and Funky Art Café, where you can spend some time with your friends.

Festivals and Events

Over and above, you can also enjoy traditional dance performances, which are held in local theatres during evening time. Some popular festivals that have been a part of tourist attractions are:

  • The Malayalam or Kerala New Year
  • The Arattu festival at Janardhana Swamy Temple
  • Karkidaka Festival
  • Onam

 

Tourist Attractions of Varkala

There some major attractions that you shouldn’t miss during your visit. Those are:

Janardhana Swami Temple- This is a famous temple in the vicinity, which is dedicated to the Lord Vishnu. It is 2000 years old temple and the festivals are celebrated here with great zest. It’s one of the major centers for doing homages to the ancestors.

The Sivagiri Mutt- Located at the distance of 2.5 kms from Varkala, this ashram is dedicated to Sree Narayana Guru, who urged against inequity and was always in the favor of one religion, caste and one god for humanity.

Papanasham Beach & Cliff- With white sandy beach, golden sunset, pristine waters and towering cliffs, the breathtaking Papanasham Beach is a popular haunt with tourist. It’s also a major heritage center that has so many historical values. From the cliff, you can view the fresh water spring at the beach. Taking bath over here is very important as it is believed that it will clean away all your sins.

Anchengo Fort & Light House – At the distance of 15 km to the south of Varkala, this place has its own history with British ruling.

Sivagiri Tunnel – Built by the regional rulers of Attingal Palce, this tunnel unwraps to a canal which keeps going the side of Sivagiri mutt.

Other popular destinations in and around the region include Thiruvambadi Beach, Kappil Beach, Paravoor, Chirayinkeezhu, Attingal, Kilimanoor, Kollam, Kovalam, and Thiruvananthapuram.

Where to Stay

Varkala has all ranges of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to reasonable homestays.

How to Reach

By Air- Trivandrum International Airport is the nearest airport, which is at the distance 51 Km from the destination.

By Rail- Varkala Railway Station is the nearest railhead that is 3 km away from Varkala.

By Road- Varkala Bus Station is well connected to all major cities of India. Varkala is just 47 km away from the NH 47. Though, this place is connected with all cities and towns, but if you wish you can avail bus from Kochi and Trivandrum to reach the destination.

Best Time to Visit- September to March

Responsible Tourism

It’s time tourism industry took difficult decisions to stay responsible and sustainable: Experts

Tourism industry experts, industry watchers and advocates of responsible and sustainable tourism have asked travel and tourism industry to adopt difficult measures to ward off ill-effects of tourism on the natural environment of the destinations. Speakers at the recently concluded Responsible Tourism Summit and Awards at the aegis of Outlook Traveller magazine outlined how climate change can harm the prospects of travel and tourism in coming decades.

Inaugurating the summit, renowned writer Amitav Ghosh cautioned travel and tourism industry across the world to be prepared to face music as a result of increasing effect of climate change. Being an industry which is highly dependent on favourable climate, Ghosh said that impact of climate change will be quite disastrous for tourism.

Rising temperature, growing desertification, glacier retreats, rising sea levels, etc., are grave threats to tourism, he said. He added that 2% rise in temperature will prove fatal to many popular ski resorts in the world. ‘Rising sea level would result in disappearance of many scenic islands in Pacific and Caribbean. Even Indian cities like Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, etc., are in danger. Beaches in Goa are going to be invaded by strange marine creatures making tourism activity unsafe’, he cautioned.

He said that countries will be forced to regulate air travel as air travel contributes heavily to climate change. Air travel will also become dearer and dearer going forward. In order to make tourism sustainable, Ghosh said that the destination developers should pay heed to the indigenous wisdom and experience of the local people.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Venu V, Secretary Tourism, Kerala asked the tourism industry to “get out of the comfort” zones and address the issues of responsible and sustainable tourism proactively. He advocated “mainstreaming” the ethos of responsible tourism, instead of doing things “here and there” and proclaiming them in a self-appreciating manner. Citing the Kerala experiment, Venu said that it is time the tourism industry took difficult decisions collectively and move forward. He expressed satisfaction, the way the tourism industry in Kerala owned up the responsible tourism initiative.

Harold Goodwin, Emeritus Professor and Responsible Tourism Advisor to WTM asked the industry to wake up to the realities of the world and stop the “declining” attitude. There is a relative inactivity on the part of airline and cruise industry on matters related to environment, which is worrying, he added. In the name of Green Tourism what is actually happening on the ground is ‘green washing’, he said.

Ananya Dasgupta of Equations, an advocacy organisation which tracks the socio-cultural, economic and environment impact of tourism came out strongly against the mainstream tourism industry and the lack of vision of the governments in framing stronger frameworks for tourism in the country. Citing the way unrestrained tourism developments are taking the toll on destinations like Mandarmani in West Bengal, Dasgupta said that “mainstream tourism industry” would not change without “strong whipping” on the part of the government. However, rules have been simplified or diluted by the government to favour the organised industry in the past. She cited how tourism projects were taken out of the preview of EIA and how CRZ norms have been diluted more than 25 times by the government since its promulgation in 2001. “What we have today is a comprehensive sustainable tourism criterion, which is a toothless tiger,” she said. She also questioned the decision of NITI Aayog to open islands in Andamans for resorts in the lines of Thailand and Maldives.