The 5th edition of ITB Asia, the premium travel trade show, became a facilitator to support the initiative of cross-border tourism in South Asia under the leadership of “The Green Circuit.” Playing a crucial role in facilitating the meeting between tourism stakeholders in Singapore, the Hon. Minister for Tourism in Pakistan, Mr. Syed Aqil Shah, suggested that despite South Asia’s great tourism potential, there is still much to do to reap the full benefits of cross-border tourism…
Tourism is indeed a powerful tool to find solutions for many of the development challenges. Knowledge sharing about responsible destination development is an important pre requisite for the creating massive large scale impact. This brought together 5 operators who formed the ‘The Green Circuit’ (TGC) ready to exchange ideas and insights about and from the locations they were actively working in the Indian Sub Continent.
The aim was to create a platform which facilitates the sharing of information regarding community engagement, conservation, natural and cultural preservation and disseminate it in a way that other similar outfits are not forced to reinvent the wheel and waste scarce resources.
On the 3rd of August 2012, two of the members of The Green Circuit - Ecosphere and The Blue Yonder came together to support the installation of one of the country’s first on-grid-solar power plant at the Institute of Palliative Medicine in Calicut, Kerala.
How it happened:
Sunil (Ecosphere) and our team at The Blue Yonder have been meeting over the last 7 years. Our every meeting is filled with conservations around our work, the challenges and pitfalls and brainstorimg sessions of how we can innovate to address these gaps. Considering that we all work in different locations with different contexts, this narrative has been a powerful tool that has brought us repeatedly to each other’s workspace. When Sunil had to recover from a recent knee problem, he didn’t think twice about coming to Kerala, known for its ancient knowledge of healing through martial arts and Ayurveda. We recommended one of our partner’s healing centre (Hindustan Kalari Sangam) in the City of Calicut, which also gave him access to another strategic partners of ours, the Pain and Palliative Care Society, that spearheads the palliative care movement in India. We had shared several powerful stories, case studies and anecdotes even before he met our promoters and local volunteers.
Sunil expressed an interest in documenting the hundreds of stories from past two decades so that success and failures of our initiatives can be shared with the outside world. He wanted to begin with his contacts who work in the renewable energy space. Those volunteers and companies who supported building renewable energy projects in the cold deserts of the Himalayas came down to the sea port of Calicut to set up the first solar power plant so that the Institute of Palliative Medicine campus can be less dependent on the power grid. IPM, a world leader in community based palliative care is now a role model for a country that’s struggling to meet the ever-increasing energy demand.
Funds needed for the installation were provided by the Samah and Sarah Trust, and the technical support were provided by Sunlit Future, a Pondicherry based company with experience in installing similar panels in Spiti Valley.
Dr Suresh Kumar, Director of IPM said, ” We have been working on building compassionate destinations and the partnerships with responsible travel companies like Ecosphere and The Blue Yonder probably will help us reach out to larger segment of the society in our country and beyond”.
About On Grid Solar Power Plant:
The power produced from the solar system in the day time will be synchronised with the incoming grid. While the power produced will be first used to meet the requirements of the electrical load connected to the IPM building, if the solar power produced during the day is not able to meet the connected electrical load requirement then the inverter will automatically draw the deficient power from the grid and supply to the electrical load. If the solar power produced during the day is more than what the connected electrical load needs, then the surplus power will be exported to the grid. Hence, the grid acts like a storage device similar to what the battery does for an OFF Grid solar PV System strengthening the existing grid. Currently, one fourth of the energy requirements of IPM can be met by the installation.
Glad to announce that we are featured among the 20 case studies in the IUCN publication “Integrating Business Skills into Ecotourism Operations”.
The case study section says, “The Blue Yonder was very successful in bringing tourism into an area where there previously was none. Even now, it is not the most popular tourist destination in India. However, the company was passionate about their product and, even though there was not a readily available market, they created one, by talking to tour operators and promoting their product as a new and different option. Eventually, people began listening to them”.
This book is designed to help conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers plan and run effective ecotourism businesses. It was created as part of the Business Skills Transfer Programme for Ecotourism Development, a joint effort by IUCN and Kuoni Group aimed at supporting conservation organisations in managing ecotourism-related businesses through business skills,knowledge and experience sharing.
This joint Programme includes capacity-building workshops in selected destinations, which are targeted at enhancing the business skills of participants, who may have had limited experience with the tourism industry in their roles as conservationists The workshops feature presentations by tourism sector leaders, aimed at providing participants with a strong foundation in business skills that will better enable them to design and run successful ecotourism businesses This book has been developed with the cooperation of several of these tourism industry professionals, who lent their time and expertise to the development of the chapters.
The book is divided into six sections: Understanding your Market and Product, Developing a Sustainable Business Plan, Running Sustainable Operations, Marketing and Sales, Human Resources, and Health and Safety These chapters are based on interviews with tourism industry professionals from around the world, as well as presentations given by business leaders at IUCN-led workshops in Barcelona, Spain (October 2008), near Phnom Penh, Cambodia (January 2010), and Nairobi Kenya (June 2011). Each of the six sections includes a discussion of why that particular topic is important,what it means, and how it applies to ecotourism businesses. Each section also includes case studies, checklists and revision questions At the end of the book, there is a list of resources that may be useful in developing your ecotourism business.
While the principal intended audience of this book includes conservation organisations, community-based organisations and protected area managers planning and running ecotourism businesses around the world,it will also prove useful to anyone looking to develop an ecotourism business, by providing a foundation in business skills that can help a project become market viable and a more effective and successful tool for conservation.
For further information on this book and the project, please contact:
IUCN Rue Mauverney 28 · 1196 Gland · Switzerland
mail@iucn org · Tel +41 22 999 0000 · Fax +41 22 999 0002
Kuoni Group Corporate Responsibility Neue Hard 7 · 8010 Zurich · Switzerland cr@kuoni com · T +41 44 277 52 44
try to fill in the blanks… We are putting together a wish list of what travellers would like to do when they travel. Things they wouldn’t want to miss! What is yours?
Some videos and music from the past covering Gujarat, Kerala and Karnataka in India. Here you can see some of the team members having fun in Gujarat, our folk musicians from Vayali folklore group playing music in our Bangalore office, Hari Govindan, one of our musical prodigies with whom we designed the now popular “musical trail” which won several international awards. There are two clippings from UNESCO world heritage site, Hampi and concluding with a mesmerising temple festival in North Kerala. The background score for the Hampi clip was done by Vayali Bamboo Orchestra.