With the monsoon clouds set to reach the doorstep of Kerala in less than a month, the State will be offering a new, tempting experience to tourists.
Travellers reaching the State will be able to feel the magic of rain from the comfort of a luxury caravan, if the current registration trends are any indication.
Hardly six months since the caravan policy of the State government was announced, 255 entities have registered for commercially operating 439 caravans across the State. A total of 142 caravan parks too are set to come up at various scenic locations. It appears that after houseboat tourism, which catapulted Kerala Tourism into the global tourism map, caravanning would be the next game changer in the tourism industry in the State.
A few caravan operators began commercial operations in March and others are likely to start service soon.
“We have developed a caravan park at Wagamon and started commercial operations on April 1. The response was great. Except for hardly two days, the caravan was operational all days,” said Naveen Mohan, vice president, Citrine Hospitality Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
“Initial trends indicate that it could become a viable tourism model in the State soon. We spent around ₹1.2 crore for developing a caravan park and ₹58 lakh for purchasing a caravan. The State government shouldered a portion of the cost by means of subsidy,” he said.
“We charge ₹24,000 a day for a family, which includes travelling expense, food and accommodation, and we get a margin of 18-20% cent in the daily rent. We could also lease out the caravan bays in the park to other operators. So it would be a good model for the post-pandemic leisure tourism experience,” said Mr. Mohan.
V.R. Krishna Teja, Director of Tourism, said Kerala could be a segment leader in a short span of time given the registration trends. “We could make caravan tourism a reality in less than six months after a policy decision was taken. At present, mostly domestic guests are using the facility. We hope that once the foreign tourist season begins, there would be a steady flow of guests round the year. The State is also hopeful of starting full-scale operations soon by roping in the remaining players who registered under Kerala Tourism.”