Kerala, known for its lush landscapes and rich cultural heritage, embarked on an ambitious journey two years ago with the launch of the Keravan Kerala project.
This initiative aimed to position the state as a key player in the burgeoning caravan tourism market in India. The project, which introduced around 10 caravans, was envisioned as a game-changer for the tourism industry.
Despite high hopes, the project encountered significant challenges. A lack of infrastructure, particularly in caravan parks, and bureaucratic delays in obtaining necessary clearances have been major setbacks, according to a report by the New India Times Express.
This has led to a situation where many caravans are being repurposed for activities such as marriage functions and medical tourism, diverging from their intended tourism use.
The concept of caravan tourism, while popular globally, is relatively new in India. Post-pandemic, this form of tourism has gained traction due to its affordability, flexibility, and the privacy it offers. However, nationwide, the sector faces hurdles such as the absence of standardized rules and adequate camping sites.
In response to these challenges, Kerala’s government is revising its approach. Efforts are underway to improve infrastructure and streamline regulatory processes.
This includes the development of three caravan parks on Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) property in Ponmudi, Bolgatty, and Bekal, as part of a broader strategy to facilitate caravan tourism.
Other Indian states have also recognized the potential of caravan tourism. Goa, for instance, has endorsed a Caravan Tourism Policy aimed at rejuvenating its tourism sector by promoting travel to lesser-known areas, according to a previous Modern Campground report. This policy is part of a national trend towards more sustainable and diverse tourism offerings.
Industry experts emphasize the need for more caravan parks in India, likening the current situation to having private jets without airports. Investments in caravan parks are seen not just as business ventures but as crucial elements in a broader marketing strategy to attract tourists seeking unique experiences.
Despite the challenges, the potential for caravan tourism in Kerala remains significant. The state’s diverse landscapes make it an attractive destination for tourists seeking flexible and unique travel experiences. With the right support and infrastructure, caravan tourism could become a major contributor to Kerala’s tourism industry.
The journey of caravan tourism in Kerala reflects a broader trend towards more personalized and sustainable travel experiences. The lessons learned from the Keravan Kerala project offer valuable insights for future tourism initiatives, both in the state and across India.
As the sector evolves, it stands poised to transform the tourism landscape, offering travelers enriching and diverse experiences.