Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh have all launched caravan tourism policies to fuel your wanderlust.
Always known for its excellent promotion of God’s Own Country, Kerala Tourism has launched a new caravan tourism policy in the state. This policy aims to attract visitors who look forward to a new experience of exploring Kerala’s many destinations in their caravans.
The ‘Keravan Kerala’ policy was announced by the State Tourism Minister PA Mohamad Riyas in Thiruvananthapuram earlier this month. He said that the state tourism board was unable to introduce new products to the market after backwater houseboats were introduced and became a rage in the 1990s. He believes that caravan tourism will attract a new set of tourists and allow people to access unexplored destinations in the state with their caravans. The minister added that the new policy aims to open up opportunities for new investments into the tourism sector and provide employment opportunities at the local level by unlocking the potential of responsible tourism.
In the past, Madhya Pradesh (a few years ago), Karnataka (last year) and Maharashtra, earlier this year, have introduced the idea of caravan tourism.
In 2020, the Karnataka government launched a scheme under which you could hire a fully-equipped vehicle that sleeps four, with a modern toilet and shower, smart TV and music system, kitchenette, refrigerator, freezer and microwave. Importantly, the caravan can be parked at facilities provided by the Karnataka State Tourism Department Corporation (KSTDC) hotels, and the organisers – Luxe Campers – also have tie-ups with highway restaurants. The state has arrangements for caravan tourism in Hampi, Gokarna, Badami, Kudremukh, Sakaleshpura, Beluru, Halebidu, Sakrebailu, and Coorg.
Earlier this year, the Maharashtra government has offered operators of caravan tourism incentives in terms of state GST, electricity duty, stamp duty and commercial water charges. Operators of caravans used for tourism will also get exemptions from vehicle tax by the transport department. The Maharashtra tourism department has also committed to providing training and help in terms of the publicity and promotion of caravan tourism. The state government has also allowed for caravans to be parked in forest buffer zones, near the foothills of forts and at hill stations. Three types of operators have been identified – caravan operators, caravan park operators and aggregators – as well as five sets of caravans – single axle conventional caravan, twin axle caravan, tent trailer, folding caravan and camper trailer, depending on the size of the travelling group. Each caravan will be equipped with a kitchen, toilet, bed, sofa and a table among other amenities, and could be self driven or come with a driver.