”We believe in doing things which have a measurable impact on Nature conservation over mere Conservational talks.”
Our Mission is to create awareness about Climate change and the importance of local biodiversity with the help of sustainable and responsible tourism.
Monsoon Retreats Eco-stay is situated in the midst of thick cardamom plantation where we had tried to blend Agro cum Ecotourism. Here we have planted large number of native plants to attract the local biodiversity and the same time retains our agricultural practise to create agricultural awareness hand in hand with ecological awareness. As a result, we have more than 84 varieties of birds visiting us out of 330 varieties of birds reported from Periyar tiger reserve. Same with the population of herpeto fauna, insects as well as arachnids whose data’s are under survey. Nights are serene which gives you the real essence of jungle where one sleeps under the lullaby of Cicadas. Trekking into the sensitive areas of Periyar Tiger Reserve, and bamboo rafting through the calm waters of Periyar Lake will always remain as a cherishing memory.We do have a large hall which is used forconducting workshops on biodiversity conservation, conservation photography as well as yoga retreats.
“Environmentally responsible travel and visitation to relatively undisturbed natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and any accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promotes conservation, has low negative visitor’s impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local population.” -IUCN, 96
That’s why ecotourism is considered to be an important tool for attaining Millennium Development Goal. But what happens when an ecologically fragile landscape become famous? A good number of outside players (Resort groups) start their own venture, thus taking away a major share of income which otherwise will be a part of the local economy. This kind of leakage leads to the draining of local economy, directly affecting the socio economic stability of local communities. In ecotourism, linkages and leakages acts as an indicator to check the involvement of local community regarding their empowerment, involvement in capacity building, awareness, strength of their institution and their socio-economic conditions. The ultimate aim of sustainable tourism is to strengthen the network of biodiversity conservation.
Majority of locals residing in the outskirts of protected areas have agriculture as their primary occupation. Monsoon plays an important role is shaping agriculture landscape both spatial and in temporal scale. If Monsoon is good, harvest will be plenty, thereby directly leading to the socio-economic well-being of the local community; but if rainfall is in excess or deficit, farmers will have to pay a huge price. In order to overcome such situation and to upgrade their socio-economic status, it’s important to empower the local communities in various ecotourism programs with sustainable development in a landscape like Periyar Tiger Reserve where tourism is the leading factor.
Monson Retreats is a model concept where we try to blend the architectural design in such a way that it hardly hinders the aesthetic as well as biological diversity of the area. All cottages stands at a height of 10 to 15 feet above the ground making it possible for all farming community to concentrate on agriculture without wasting even a cent of agricultural land in the name of tourism infrastructure but at the same time, earn some additional financial benefits from tourism. In other words, we try to blend agro with ecotourism, that too in a sustainable way. Thus avoiding depletion of land in the name of resorts or homestays which otherwise can be used for agricultural production. Sustainability with a minimum negative impact on nature is the basic need of the hour.
How we value ourselves as a Responsible and Sustainable Venture.
We consider mainly two aspects of Responsible tourism i.e. environmental sustainability and socio-economic development of local communities, in which the latter plays a crucial role in successful implementation.
Economic and social linkage
We have designed all our programs in such a way that all the programs will positively influence the local communities. Major stakeholders will be directly benefited while the secondary stakeholders who are not directly linked with tourism will also be benefitted with the responsible practices we have adapted. Here we tried to promote the rich biodiversity of Periyar tiger reserve and the role they play stabilizing micro climatic conduction of Periyar Tiger Reserve. Even the mode of transportation or safaris is coordinated with the participation of local communities to strengthen the economic linkage and the ecotourism activities with the support of forest department for the welfare and empowerment of the tribal communities. Cultural shows like Kathakali and Kalarippayattu along with tribal dance is promoted for encouraging the culture as well as to provide a livelihood for these artists. Farm visit to encourage organic farmers are executed to promote their farm products and to create better awareness about healthy farm practices, but with more responsible travellers, we visited the farms with unhealthy farming practice, engaging with the communities in various occupational activities like farming, joining in the harvest of spices etc but at the end, we will try to make a positive impact on their attitude towards sustainable farming practise and also assuring them of our economic support(tourism) during their shift from inorganic type of agriculture to organic one. As a result of such tourism practises, a large cardamom farm of 17 acres is on the process of shifting to organic. We are also promoting this venture in whatever way we can so that they won’t go back to unhealthy farm practice.