Challenges Facing Kerala Caravan Tourism

The caravan tourism initiative, launched by the Kerala Tourism Department two and a half years ago, has reached its halfway point. Originally, 373 entrepreneurs were enrolled to establish 1590 caravans, and 115 entrepreneurs were set to create 162 caravan parks. Unfortunately, only 11 caravans have been actualized, with two having undergone inspection by the tourism department. Presently, only one fully equipped caravan park is operational.

The caravans are active in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi, Vagamon, Wayanad, Malappuram, Thodupuzha, Aluva, and Kodungallur. These are all under the ownership of private hotel-tourism entrepreneurs. Despite a reduction in taxes by the motor vehicle department, there is a reluctance among more entrepreneurs to join. The entrepreneurs attribute this hesitation to the fact that tourists are not fully utilizing the service, coupled with a shortage of parks.

Caravan tourism strives to offer a comfortable and convenient travel experience for up to six individuals. It includes four seats, two beds, a toilet, Wi-Fi, an induction cooker, and a home theater. The daily fare ranges from Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000 for an 80 km journey, with an additional charge of Rs. 60 per extra kilometer. Operators mention that they typically have fewer than ten trips in a month.

An investment of one crore rupees is required to launch a caravan on the road, with profitability expected after at least 20 days of operation. Caravan tourism experiences a lack of tourists through KTDC, and numerous entrepreneurs opt to promote their businesses on their websites.

If a secure parking facility is not available, the project will not proceed. The government’s commitment to establish sufficient parks has proven futile. A minimum of three crore rupees will be invested in park preparation. Although the construction of a park in Malampuzha was finished, the Irrigation Department issued a stop memo, leading to a legal dispute. Government approval has been obtained for KTDC to initiate caravan parks at Kochi Bolgatty Palace, Ponmudi, and Bekal.

” A Facilitation Center is set to commence operations in Thiruvananthapuram, aiming to attract increased investments in the caravan tourism sector and offer legal resolutions to entrepreneurs’ challenges. The initiative includes the establishment of caravan parks on government-owned land, with KTDC Tenders already initiated for three such parks,” stated P.A. Muhammad Riaz, Kerala’s Minister of Tourism.

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