Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 13: Next time Kerala’s spectacular countryside, its rollicking backwaters or serene and undulating hill stations pop up on your itinerary, you may find it tempting to opt for a self-contained ‘home on wheels’ awash with facilities that gives the feeling of a home away from home. Whether you are a romantic couple, a family looking for quality time together away from the hubbub of a city, or a backpacker seeking adventure, Caravans offer the freedom of a languid, sustainable and responsible travel, with the utmost concern for hygiene, safety and social distancing.

Caravan tourism is a concept that has gained immense popularity across the globe owing to the freedom and flexibility it provides. With the pandemic situation keeping everyone on the tenterhooks, the segment now offers the advantage of absolutely safe travel bubble from home to destination and back.

It is now considered the perfect fit for anyone who finds travel in the corona times fraught with risks and hassles. Not many who love travel prefer the long airport delays and the prospect of using public rest rooms. Outside food and travelling in air-conditioned trains with strangers whose health status one may have no clue about also tend to make people tense and jittery.

‘Keravan Tourism’: Safe like a bubble, comfy like home


Caravan Tourism, powered by customized stylish vehicles and equipped with all the trappings for a smooth ride and comfortable stay, is tipped to be the next big thing for Kerala Tourism after houseboats in three decades. The state government has already announced a comprehensive, stakeholder-friendly Caravan Tourism policy, branded as Keravan Kerala, promising the visitors customized and closest-to-nature travel experience.

“Going by Kerala’s inherent strengths of natural beauty and tourism-friendly culture, Caravan Tourism has immense scope for the state. Besides offering a refreshing experience for the tourists, local communities stand to gain substantially by enabling them to showcase their culture and products before the visitors,” says Mr VR Krishna Teja, Director, Tourism.

The policy envisages tourist caravans as safe, comfortable and fully compliant with local and state regulations, providing a homely feeling for the guests. It also entails development of Caravan Parks as private, public or joint ventures. A park, which needs at least 50 cents of land, should have space to accommodate five caravans at a time with facilities like food parks, rest rooms, activity area and drivers’ lodge.

Mr Abraham George, Managing Director of Intersight Tours and Travels, feels there will be a good demand for caravans as the recent trend shows that most of the tourists are coming as couples or families and they want to go to less crowded places. The travel company is currently designing hybrid packages that includes caravan tourism. “It will be a big hit with honeymooners because of the privacy and security offered by caravans,” he said.

Mr Riyaz UC, Managing Director, Spiceland Holidays, is also elated as he feels that caravan tourism can be packaged both as a standalone product and a hybrid package. “The introduction of caravan tourism at this juncture will give a much-needed fillip to tourism in the state which is yet to fully recover from the impact of the COVID pandemic,” he said. Spiceland is also exploring the possibility of introducing a hop-on, hop-off model to reduce cost.

Some of these motor homes are also ultimate in luxury and provide a complete spectrum of amenities: queen-sized beds, shower and toilet, solar-powered geysers, air-conditioners, heaters and a kitchenette with electric and gas burners, mini-fridge, a microwave oven, and smart television screens. The list does not end here. They also have motorised windows, portable barbeque grill and an awning that lets you enjoy the weather outdoors. Sofas, recliners, foldout tables and convertible beds to save space, ambient lighting to lift the mood and Wi-Fi-enabled smart entertainment systems add to the comfort.

Taking a cue from Kerala’s Caravan Tourism policy, auto major Bharat Benz has already rolled out its world class, ready-for the road Tourist Caravan in the state while Bengaluru based start-up Campervan Camps and Holidays India Pvt Ltd recently introduced its premium truck-camper, LuxeCamper.

‘Keravan Tourism’: Safe like a bubble, comfy like home


Considering the natural beauty of God’s Own Country dotted with eye-popping landscapes ranging from backwaters to hill stations, Caravans and Caravan Parks have the potential to become a game-changer in the tourism sector. The initial demand in this niche segment is expected to come from domestic tourists and then from the inbound tourists who can savour the village life experience in a place where they are halting. Whether it is a village with swathes of paddy field, a fishermen’s hamlet or a hub of traditional industry or craft, they can have a close look at the daily chores of the community.

The initiative also opens up the possibility of turning accessible but unexplored places in the state into alluring destinations. It is designed to make tourism a sustainable activity that would bring benefits to local communities and also scale up opportunities for the industry.

The experiential feature, directly linked to Kerala’s successful Responsible Tourism (RT) initiative, has the potential to generate employment and commercial opportunities for local communities, local self-government institutions, small and micro enterprises, artists and collective endeavours of women like Kudumbashree.


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