Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala Government’s plan to promote caravan tourism in the state is attracting a good response. As many as 226 caravans and 85 caravan parks have registered under the Caravan Tourism Project launched by the Tourism Department. Applications have been received for opening the parks in all districts and leading the list are Idukki (18 parks), Wayanad (16) and Palakkad (14).
Meanwhile, a caravan service has already started functioning in Kochi. Operated by a tour agency in the city, the caravan takes pilgrims from the Cochin International Airport to Sabarimala.
According to officials, among those who have applied to launch caravans are individuals, societies and tour operators. All caravans would be inspected by the Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) before they are cleared for service. At the same time, permission to set up the caravan parks will be given by the respective panchayats.
As part of its caravan policy, the government is also offering subsidy to buy new caravans. “Subsidy will be given for 300 caravans. In case the operators withdraw from service within five years after registration, the subsidy has to be returned,” said an official.
Meanwhile, subsidy will not be available for caravan parks as no major expenses are involved in setting up the facility, the official pointed out.
As part of the project, the Tourism Department has issued instructions to all District Tourism Promotion Councils (DTPCs) to examine the potential of caravan tourism in their respective area and prepare tourism programmes related to the caravan parks.