Caravan tourism, one of the most popular modes of tourism in Australia, the U.S, and the U.A.E, is starting to catch up in India, with states like Kerala and Maharashtra developing policies to maximize the industry.
Industry experts said that tour operators and luxury hotels in Kerala and Goa would require over 100 motorhomes to cater to the demand within five years.
“We have designed five caravans as per the requirements of our customers in the last four years. In the next ten months, we are supposed to deliver 12 such recreational vehicles to our clients in Kerala. We are receiving several requests from luxury hotels in Goa for caravans,” said Jagadish Hiremath, managing director of Able Design, the only caravan manufacturing company in North Karnataka.
The company has also been developing special purpose vehicles to serve DRDO, ISRO, and the health sector. A few of their modified ambulances and vehicles are currently deployed along their China border, according to a report.
Hiremath said that caravan tourism is an untapped sector so far in India and has enormous growth potential.
“These vehicles can be solutions for enhancing tourism activities at places where setting up of permanent infrastructure is not possible. This can open up unlimited possibilities for enhancing tourism,” he said.
Industry experts said states such as Kerala, Goa, and Maharashtra have recognized the potential of this sector and came up with the necessary policies.
Kerala has already opted to build 100 caravan parks in tourist spots where visitors can get free electricity, drainage, and water connections.
“Tiger” Ramesh Govindan, MD of LuxeCamper, said Karnataka is losing in the race because the state government is not taking the necessary decisions.
“While the Kerala government came out with a government order on caravan parks and gave permission for the operation of my campervan in just 45 days, Karnataka tourism department is sitting on my file for recognizing our company as caravan tour-operator for the last three years. The government does not have a vision with regard to caravan tourism,” he said, adding that he is considering shifting base to Kerala next month.
He said the union government must take action to ensure uniform road tax rates for caravans across India or create one tariff/permit for all approved caravans. He added that caravan tourism could create jobs in rural regions.
Hardeep Kaur, a former manager at a star hotel, told DH that many foreign tourists visiting Goa requested the services of caravans to go to Dandeli, Badami, Aihole, Hampi, and other destinations in Karnataka because these areas do not have “good accommodation.”
“Though our hotel management was interested in procuring caravans, we had to drop the idea at the last minute as there were no proper facilities for the caravans at those locations,” he said.
This article originally appeared on Deccan Herald.