Sustainable Travel in Kerala, India | Positive Footprints | World Nomads

Sustainable Travel in Kerala, India | Positive Footprints | World Nomads

[MUSIC PLAYING] After my first trip here,
my perspective about tourism changed altogether. Heaven. Heavenly life here. Natural and organic. [MUSIC PLAYING] Kerala is a state which
is promoting tourism as a development option,
under the notion that this can attract foreign exchange. This can bring employment
opportunities for the people here. [MUSIC PLAYING] In reality, unregulated
tourism promotion is causing a lot of problems,
like environmental pollution. People are getting displaced
by tourism projects. There are some big
resorts, of which we don’t know how much of that
income or whatever development is happening goes back
to the community there. Hardly any. But here, the whole
concept is different. It’s mutually beneficial. Travelers are getting
benefited out of it, and so are the whole
of the community. [MUSIC PLAYING] An organization
like Kabani, we’re trying to have a comprehensive
approach of oppose and propose. On the one hand, we
are trying to oppose a bad model of tourism, which is
detrimental to the environment, and communities, and
livelihood and all. But on the other
hand, we are also trying to propose a better
model of tourism which involves local communities. And most of the
benefits goes to them in various parts of the country. So when you travel with us, you
are part of a transformation process. OK. You take this. It’s like an exchange
offer, actually. An exchange of language,
skills, and culture. Totally, we are sharing life. I arrived yesterday, and I
was welcomed with open arms. And last night, we all
had dinner together. And they’re just going
about their normal day. They stay here like they
would stay at their own homes. Mary, she is our first
homestay provider. The courage that she had to
start a homestay at that time, it was incredible. When the first guest
came, I was anxious. I didn’t know how I would
manage to make it work. The experience that
she shares now, with other homestay
providers, it gives them lots of confidence. They were asking,
how about language? How do you
communicate with them? I kept on practicing
and hosting. It felt really good. That’s how I got confidence,
by just practicing. [BIRDS CHIRPING] Be careful. There was a serious
agrarian crisis here, which was really devastating. A lot of crops were
destroyed by climate change. I think more than 10 or 15
people committed suicide in our village,
due to this crisis. So in this time,
the organization Kabani came forward and
they said, “how can we save the people in the village?” So this is the thing I liked. I agreed to join Kabani. [MUSIC PLAYING] Before Kabani, the
farmers did not have another option
rather than agriculture. They did not have enough
money to send their children to higher education, and so on. But now, they have
travelers coming here, and they are contributing
to their economy. And they’re contributing
to their own level of different growth. If you have a passion
and you can meet people with similar passions when
you’re traveling, then of course, that’s
amazing because you can learn from those
people and start to see your own
passion or industry from a different perspective. We’ve met so many
beautiful local people. They’re so caring
and so compassionate. One family member will
take us to pottery. Another one will be
guiding us around the town. Lots of different experiences. So you really feel like
you connect when you’re here and traveling in this way. [MUSIC PLAYING] Ultimately, you’re
dealing with communities like farmers, women, and
other local communities. Otherwise, they
are not in tourism. So our role is
basically bringing them into sustainable tourism, which
is a very long-term activity. You cannot expect
results tomorrow. We had around six
or seven ladies who are going to be a
part of this homestay here in Makaramkottu Illan. They are normally housewives. So we have given
them a part-time job or a full-time job, wherein
they get a chance to meet the people outside. They go to see
the world outside. We had little roleplays
and games through which we could build confidence in them. When you have guests coming,
when you interact with them, when you share your
experience and they share their experience,
it all empowers women. [MUSIC PLAYING] Expression is different. The women must meet and
rehearse quite regularly, where they get together, and
they had all their little kids there. And all the other
women were laughing and having a great old time. Working with the
team at World Nomads, it’s been quite humbling to
see another side of travel. A kind of travel
where we can give back to the people and the
communities that we visit. When people buy insurance
with World Nomads, there’s technology
on the website that enables people to choose
to make a small donation. They can choose the
amount, and they can choose where the money goes. The money has been
raised and given to the village of
Mothakkara, where there’s a whole bunch
of different training initiatives taking place. The people who are involved
in this program changed a lot. They are reaching into a
level of self-fulfillment, and a spiritual
level of their life. I’ve been working a lot in
many parts of the world, setting up community
tourism programs. But doing something similar in
your village is very special and, of course, it is
also a bit emotional. [MUSIC PLAYING] We can learn from
each and every guest. In the future, I think I would
like more travelers to come. I think I like. My grandfather used to tell me
a lot of stories about Gandhi, and how he changed certain
practices in India. In my life also,
that’s my dream. We would really like to
inspire other communities all over the world
with this experience. And that is something Kabani
is dreaming for the future. [MUSIC PLAYING]

6 thoughts on “Sustainable Travel in Kerala, India | Positive Footprints | World Nomads”

  • David Cornejo Gonzalez says:

    I have traveled to Kerala three times and in the future I will keep coming back because I have fallen in love with your region, its people, flora and fauna are exceptional, I think this initiative is great, since it encourages the sustainable use of tourism by offering the traveler all the The wealth that Kerala can offer with local people and a human scale contributes in a very positive way to the sustainable development of tourism. I have also seen a not so positive development with the construction of large buildings and a large-scale tourism industry approach. I, from my own experience, live on a very touristy island in Spain, in which I went from one local tourism to another on a large scale and it has truly been a disaster since the flora and fauna have been destroyed and its inhabitants have been harmed. what initiatives like yours come out ahead.

    He viajado a Kerala tres ocasiones y en un futuro seguiré volviendo ya que me he enamorado de vuestra región, realmente sus gentes, flora y fauna son excepcionales, me parece estupenda esta iniciativa, ya que fomentar el uso sostenible del turismo ofreciendo al viajero toda la riqueza que kerala puede ofrecer con personas locales y una escala humana contribuye de forma muy positiva al desarrollo sostenible del turismo. También he podido ver un desarrollo no tan positivo con la construción de grandes edificios y un enfoque de industria del turismo a gran escala. Yo por propia experiencia vivo en una isla de España muy turística, en la cual se paso de un turismo local a otro a gran escala y verdaderamente ha sido un desastre ya que se ha destruido la flora y fauna y sus habitantes han salido perjudicados.Espero que iniciativas como la vuestra salgan adelante.

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