By Govind Kumar
Endogenous Tourism can harness the traditional skills of rural artisans. While Eco Tourism preserves the Ecology, Endogenous Tourism can foster skills of the rurals.
Tourism is the only oasis in Kerala's industrial desert. It brought in $ 4.2 billion revenues last year, which is 8% of Kerala's GDP of 58 billion. The Endogenous Tourism Project of UNDP gave 11.5 cr for the development of a tiny hamlet on the banks of the Pamba River, Aranmula.
In Kerala Tourism has grown without any major initiative from the State Govt. Kerala has been defined as a heavenly state and immense natural beauty bestowed by the Divine is the main factor responsible.
Unlike Eco Tourism which emphasises the conservation of natural landscapes and resources, Endogenous Tourism focusses on the culture, civilization and craft of a location ! It creates livelihood opportunities for the local population through projects that are economically sustainable and culturally expressive.
UNDP gave 11.5 cr for the new Tourism Initiative, called " Endogenous Tourism Culture and Craft - based Ecotourism for Sustainable Livelihoods and Integrated Rural Development" that promotes local culture and craft for creating livelihood opportunities and projecting these as local attractions to attract international and domestic tourists !
The project will be piloted at various sites like the Valley of Flowers in Uttaranchal. At the pilot sites, activities will include setting up cultural centers, recreation centers, training locals for hospitality related professions and creating marketing development models !
If Aranmula becomes successful as a E T project, it will open the path for an alternative tourism driven development .
Here are some photos of Aranmula