Beaches, backwaters, wildlife sanctuaries, and hill stations to woo tourists
From seaside gateways to serene forests and scenic backwaters, Kollam biodiversity circuit, one of the two major tourism projects announced in the 2012-22 Budget, will connect a string of diverse destinations.
Apart from prime attractions, including Ashtamudi, Thenmala and Jatayu Earth’s Centre, the circuit is expected to cut through lesser-known spots recommended by local authorities.
There are also proposals to leave the project open ended, so that it can be extended to other ecotourism centres such as Gavi in neighbouring Pathanamthitta.
According to officials, nearly ten spots will be developed as part of the project and basic facilities will be upgraded. “Along with beach and backwater tourism, the project involves wildlife sanctuaries and hill stations offering the visitors an exclusive experience. The circuit with all topographical features will be a rarity,” says Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal.
The circuit will be designed in a way causing zero damage to ecologically fragile destinations such as Munroe Thuruthu. The authorities are exploring various possibilities, including introduction of floating amphibious houses to attract international tourists.
Since Ashtamudi will be the heart of the circuit, Kollam KSRTC bus station, located on its shore, will be given a major facelift. Nearly four acres surrounding the depot will be spruced up to change the face of the city.
“The location has huge potential and there are plans to convert it into a multi-storey complex offering premium options for stay and shopping,” he says.
While the mangrove cover in various parts, including Asramam biodiversity heritage site will be protected, strict surveillance and enforcement measures will be taken to conserve the waterbody.
“We have already launched an elaborate programme to clean and rejuvenate the lake and in future we will be taking all efforts to prevent environmental consequences of tourism,” says Mayor Prasanna Earnest.
The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) had launched special packages covering some of the locations in the circuit and according to officials, the trips have many takers.
Apart from dawn-to dusk cruise packages, there are midland circuit tours that included destinations such as Muttara-Maruthimala, Meenpidippara, and Malamel. “Some of the tours we operate are already part of the circuit and they will definitely benefit from the project. We are expecting an increased footfall in the routes and are also planning to suggest some new additions,” says DTPC secretary M.R. Jayageetha.
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