‘Back on track’ : A magical mystery tour
“As the 3.25 south bound roared in, the sleepers sprang to life, and the station filled with clamour and shouting cries of water and sweetmeat vendors, shouts of policemen, and shrill yells of women gathering up their baskets, their families and their husbands..”
-Description of a train Journey from ‘Kim’ Rudyard Kipling: 1901
It isn’t very different now in the 21st century. There is something about the Indian Railways. Kipling will always be remembered as a Victorian poet who was fascinated with the Indian Railways. There is a distinct character of an Indian train, which is hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Blowing the whistle
Every day, on an average, more than 8,350 trains ply some 50,000 miles [80,000 km] of running track, carrying over 12.5 million passengers. Freight trains haul goods in excess of 1.3 million tons. Together, each day these cover a distance equal to three and a half times the distance to the moon! Indian trains go across the country and cover a total length of 63,140 km (39,233 miles).
Read the entire article here
“Responsible Tourism” is in the danger of becoming a meaningless marketing tool with no real substance: Kelly May of Andaman Discoveries.
Andaman Discoveries, Thailand recently won the prestigious responsible tourism under the category “Best for conservation of cultural heritage” at the World Travel Market in London. Founder and Managing Director Kelly May in conversation with TBY team shares how she started Andaman discoveries and how they work with communities in Southern Thailand.
TBY: From publishing industry to Responsible Tourism, how did you end up working in Southern Thailand?
Kelly May: I was self-confessed Bangkok party animal, exploiting the benefits of working in publishing and a well-known face on the social circuit. Luckily, deadlines had kept me in Bangkok on that fateful day when the tsunami struck. As the gravity of the situation became known, I knew I could not sit back and do nothing. Donating money was not enough, I jumped on a plane and headed South, knowing there must be some way I could contribute, even if it was just translating for survivors.
TBY Associates sets trend at World Travel Market, London
Staged annually in London under one roof, World Travel Market (WTM) was staged during the 12-15th of November 2007 this year. Total numbers of delegates rose 3% to 48,687, Meridian Club buyers increased by more than 12% to nearly 13,000 and international participants went up by 9.5%. Visitor numbers increased to 23,802, a hike of 5.6%.
The India pavilion saw TBY and its associate properties, Koder House and Kurumba Village Resorts coming under the banner of responsible tourism. TBY Associates was set up to bring together Responsible Tourism partners providing accommodation in India. Since Responsible Tourism was one of the main themes at this year’s WTM, our trade partners in originating markets found this a combination of a responsible holiday provider exhibiting with their accommodation partners very attractive. The combination ensures that while TBY offers activity based Responsible Tourism, the accommodation providers ensure that the same quality of experience to our discerning guests.
Sanjay Awatramani, representing Kurumba Village resorts said,” Going together as a team with TBY as an accommodation partner gave us an opportunity to interact and do business with rapidly growing responsible tourism market.” According to Vicky Raj of Koder House, “working as a team of tour operator / destination manager and accommodation providers with a central theme of Responsible Tourism made a positive difference to this years WTM campaign.”
TBY Associates will be represented at the New York Times show (29 Feb – 2 March 2008) and ITB Berlin 5-9 March 2008. List of properties participating in these shows along with The Blue Yonder will be announced shortly. Watch this space.
WTM RTD networking to be an annual event.
The Blue Yonder in association with Your Safe Planet (supported by Fisher’s SOS) organised a social networking evening to celebrate first ever Responsible Tourism Day at the World Travel Market in London. The event organised on the 13th Nov 2007 at the Long Acres was well attended by all sections of travel industry and media from countries as varied as India, UK, USA, Norway, Sweden, Canada, Sri Lanka, South Africa and Australia.
Andrew Jones of Sanctuary Resorts , Hong Kong commented, “As one of the members of Advisory Panel to the World Travel Market on World Responsible Tourism Day, I felt it very important, and my pleasure to attend this first, of what I am sure will become an annual event. It was good to see such a large number of industry professionals come together for an evening of social networking and exchanging of views, knowledge and information on RT practices, and support services, systems and organizations. The diverse aspects of the industry were well represented by the attendees including travel companies and consultants, individual travelers and package tour providers, hotel and resort operators, Internet and on-line service providers, activity providers and even consumers of some of the attending companies.
Geoff Manchester of Intrepid, Gopinath Parayil of TBY and Andrew Jones of Sanctuary Resorts at the WTM RTD on 14th
The positive energy of the gathering was plain to see as the global Responsible and Sustainable Tourism community from far flung areas and destinations of the World came together in a spirit of mutual interest to share experiences and gain insights which could be used to benefit their own communities and developments.
The timing and obvious success of such a gathering highlights the developing momentum of the movement towards Responsible and Sustainable Tourism. Research and industry leaders tell us that more and more consumers are demanding and making decisions based on Responsible and Sustainable business practices. Therefore, we need to encourage and create additional opportunities and activities to enable to such social interactions within the industry to occur, and stimulate sharing, cooperation, synchronicity and synergies in what I believe is the future of successful tourism projects around the Globe.
Fiona Jeffrey of WTM, Justin Francis of Responsibletravel.com at the WTM RTD on 14th
We certainly encourage and support The Blue Yonder, Your Safe Planet and others who were involved in starting this initiative at the World Travel Market, and already look forward to attending again next year. “
At the backdrop of Second International Conference on Responsible tourism in destinations in Kerala, during March 2008, The Blue Yonder is planning a similar networking event. Details of the same will be announced through the newsletter and networking partner’s websites. We welcome ideas for such a gathering
Fragrant Nature Resort – A TBY Associate
Fragrant Nature Resort is a backwater resort on the beautiful and tranquil Mala Lake near Paravur, Kollam District, Kerala. It is a place of retreat where you can unwind and connect with nature, have fellowship with local people and unravel Kerala in all its beauty and charm. The resort is intentionally small for low impact on the environment and local culture having only five villas and five lakeside rooms set on 3.6 acres of land. The resort facilities include a restaurant serving local cuisine, a thatched performance area, wildlife gardens and an Ayurveda centre
Fragrant Nature is a boutique backwater resort nestled in an idyllic position amongst coconut palms in over three acres of lakeside land on the beautiful and tranquil Mala Lake near Paravur, Kollam District, Kerala. Its rural village setting lets you see and experience the authentic Keralean way of life. You can watch village cookery demonstrations, go fishing on the lake or take an elephant ride. There is also excellent immediate access for boat trips and bicycle rides to enjoy the scenery and see the local flora and fauna. The scenic and unspoilt coast at Kappil is only 8km away. The popular beach resort of Varkala is also within easy reach offering the opportunity for bathing, shopping and eating out. Fragrant Nature Resort is only 5km from the main highway and well located for trips out being only 20km south of Kollam and 60km north of Trivandrum.
The resort has five spacious Keralaite villas on a terrace overlooking the lake and a five-room stone and thatch accommodation on the lakeside. Read their responsible tourism policies here.