Kerala, a paradise for softer adventure tourism activities

A decade after adventure tourism (AT) activities gained popularity in Kerala, they have taken on more subtle forms in the state, where there is greater demand for cycling, camping, hiking, kayaking and a multitude of other daytime activities only for those who need it. higher endurance and training levels.

Even though caravan tourism is the latest, high-end product of the state, Kerala Tourism has put a renewed emphasis on promoting AT, given the post-pandemic demand for experiential tourism globally. entire. Nowhere is it more evident than at 11 and edition of the Kerala Travel Mart (KTM) underway which will end on Sunday at the Samudrika Convention Center in Willingdon Island, where many AT promoters are courting international and domestic ‘buyers’ with enticing packages.

Among the forerunners in the field is Kalypso Adventures, which set foot in the state 22 years ago and won the national AT award in 2017-18. He has organized short term AT activities all over India including cycling treks in the high ranges of Kerala, kayaking in the mangrove forests of Kadamakudy and bird watching. The general manager of the company Cdr. (retired) Sam T. Samuel said there are countless companies that promote daytime adventure activities, mostly confined to parks, that aren’t really AT activities like going on hikes cycling for days together, kayaking and parasailing, which have much wider reach.

“The state needs to better understand the AT concept. The situation however changed 22 years ago when many people laughed at me as we ventured into the hitherto little explored sector of Kerala. It is a good place for soft adventures, unlike the Himalayas and nearby regions which are good for more challenging activities like hiking, mountaineering, etc. Kerala is a fantastic destination for cycling, backwater kayaking and bird watching. The government should publicize its potential for extended TA activities that last 10 or even 14 days, including team building and leadership training for enterprise groups,” he said.

Safety and credibility track records matter a lot to companies in the industry.

“People are looking for niche products and personalized services, post-pandemic,” said Sebinster Francis, managing director of Munnar-based Route 4.9 Adventures. “So demand has increased for biking and tent camps, and there’s a camping boom [a form of adventure activity] in mountain resorts. Guests leave with the satisfaction of having pushed their limits and engaged in adventure activities, rather than just sightseeing. They have the thrill of doing the seemingly impossible, like paragliding and abseiling,” he said.

Tourism sources said that the District Tourism Promotion Councils (DTPCs) are the appropriate bodies to identify and promote AT activities in different districts. The government and its agencies are providing all necessary assistance.

Sally J. Minick