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- Key Interventions
Here you can find the Key Interventions (Campaigns, Events and Other Interventions) related to this State. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Key Intervention.
Here you can find Resources (Papers, Publications and Presentations) linked to this State. These can be sorted year wise. On clicking a Title, you can read online and download the respective Resource. Please do acknowledge EQUATIONS when quoting from or using these resources in any manner.
Our work in Kerala has, not surprisingly, been closely intertwined with developments on its breathtaking coastline. In 1991, we undertook a coastal survey of Kerala from Kasargode to Thiruvananthapuram to understand the extent of tourism and other developments on the Kerala coast. On World Tourism Day the following year 1992, a workshop “Tourism development in Kerala –its implications” was organised in Trichur along with Prathikarna Sangam, Sahyadri Prathikarna Vedhi and INFACT (all action groups in Kerala). A set of posters by artist Dhanaraj Keezhara commissioned for this meeting were part of a state wide travelling exhibition. A coordination committee was set up with the Kerala Nature Preservation Club. In 1999, we organised a seminar Malabar Coastal Region: A situational analysis, to discuss the issues, threats and possible interventions on the Malabar Coastal Region along with MCITRA, Kozhikode. Many of our coastal interventions are in the section on Ecotourism, Communities and Tourism.
Platform constructed by Poppy Resorts reclaiming backwaters at Kumbalanghi, Kerala, 16 Dec 2007In the 1992-95 period, our networking efforts intensified in Kerala. Several campaigns were initiated all in collaboration with local groups and initiatives - the Elephant March in Thrissur and the tourism projects in Bekal and Kannur through which significant media intervention and public debate were generated. We responded to the ongoing media debate on Bekal and the problems with the “Special Tourism Areas” approach by means of an open letter questioning specific aspects of the project. The Bekal project in particular and our campaign generated much heat and debate as highlighted the undemocratic practice of the authorities and the “selling” of this peaceful coastal village. This forced the government to re-look at the project and listen to people’s concerns.
We work closely with movements, people’s platforms particularly those with critical perspectives, academic institutions and intellectuals. The Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad the well known Peoples Science Movement of Kerala invited us to seminar on Tourism and Environment issues and we presented a paper titled “Is Tourism a Development Model for Kerala.” The Institute for Management in Government, Kerala also invited us to train elected members of panchayats on – “Coastal Tourism in Keralam” and CRZ violations on the Keralam Coast. We collaborated with the IMG in various other important seminars – e.g Women and Tourism in 1999. We also had vibrant collaborations with the MG University on joint workshops. EQUATIONS has continued to engage with tourism teaching institutes in Kerala over the years. Paved Roads close to the sea, for the tourists at Pallikkara Beach, Kasargode, Kerala, 9 Mar 2006.
By the late 90’s we had begun our focus on tourism development in Kumarakom and Wayanad – both upcoming tourism destinations. A tourism survey in Wayanad studied the location and quantum of hotels, resorts, timeshares and other tourism related institutions, existing and proposed, details regarding the land requirements changes in ownership and use pattern, environmental and social problems in existing tourist locations. The findings of the study were shared with local people as well as other stakeholders in the development and regulation of tourism. A preliminary survey of the wetlands and backwaters of Kerala to examine into the use of these areas prior to tourism development and whether people have been displaced/compensated/rehabilitated was attempted.
Kumarakom and Kovalam are examples of destinations that we had intensive involvement with. Kovalam as an example of what unsustainable and thoughtless tourism expansion can do, and Kumarakom as an effort to work with principles of more people centred efforts at developing tourism. In collaboration with the Panchayat of Kumarakom we worked on an action research on sustainable tourism development in Kumarakom which involved resource mapping in the GIS format for future planning. By 2000, we were actively involved in the process of the people of Kumarakom bringing out a “Peoples Charter on Sustainable Tourism in Kumarakom” in 2002. In 2004 the Panchayat formed a Functional Committee on Tourism with local stakeholder participation to address and regulate tourism.
One of our key roles is the constant monitoring of tourism linked policies, plans, developments and to bring the implications of this to the attention of our wide networks - civil society organisations, researchers, academicians, students, government departments, local self governments, media, and tourism industry. The Kerala Tourism EQUATIONS' presentation on 'Challenges and Opportunities of Tourism in Kerala', organised by KITTS and KTDC at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, 6 Dec 2005(Conservation & Preservation of Areas) Act 2005, the Kerala Local Authorities Entertainment Tax Bill 2005 and the Kerala Ayurveda Health Centres (Issue of License and Control Bill) 2007, the impacts of international trade agreements like the GATS and FTAs, and the dilution of Coastal Regulations have been areas of intensive research, critique and mobilisation.
We challenged the Kerala Tourism Conservation Act 2005 which took away powers of the local panchayat. In 2006 Kerala was shortlisted by the WTTC for the Tourism for Tomorrow awards in the Best Destination category. We challenged this on the grounds that the state had failed to maintain a policy of sustainable management incorporating social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects as well as multi-stakeholder engagement, which was the major criterion for the award, resulting in Kerala being dropped from the shortlist. We questioned the reclamation of backwaters at Kumbalanghi for tourism projects and the state government directed the local Grama Panchayat to cancel the license issued to construct resorts in 2008. Such battles continue in the push to ensure that a state that depends so heavily on tourism ensures that its development is on the lines of sustainability, equity and justice.
While we challenge the state, we have also cooperated with it in initiatives which we believe have held some promise of more sustainable tourism policy and practice. In 2000, we were co-organizers with the Tourism Department, Government of Kerala in a workshop that aimed at ensuring the democratisation of tourism practice and is reflected in its policy document – Vision 2025, at the point when the department was formulating its new policy. Our research and recommendations on Visitor Management in Periyar Tiger Reserve was another attempt to influence sustainable practices. In 2007, we contributed significantly to developing the conceptual framework for Responsible Tourism in the state and the process of establishing multi-stakeholder committees with representatives from tourism industry, government, civil society organisations, media, and academicians to make tourism practise more responsible. The question of child abuse in tourism has been very alarming and with growing evidence of child abuse in Kovalam and other areas in Kerala, we have been involved in both challenging the state and encouraging it to adopt zero –tolerance policies in order that it walks its talk on its commitment to responsible, people centred and sustainable practices.
Click on the ‘Resources’ tab above to read Kerala State Networking Programme related papers, publications and presentations.
Click on the ‘Key Interventions’ tab above to know about Kerala State Networking Programme related campaigns, events and interventions.