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.
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.