Sand, Surf and Sea Change – The New Indian Express

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Express press service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The white sandy beach of Adimalathura, located near Kovalam, should be added to the list of Kerala travel hotspots. The tourism department has already taken steps to keep the beach pristine, which offers mesmerizing views of the Arabian Sea.

The plan, according to sources, is to transform Adimalathura and its fishing hamlet into an international tourist destination. The project – which will be jointly implemented by the Department of Tourism, Responsible Tourism Mission and local bodies – is expected to cost around 50 crore.

The main aim is to provide the benefits of sustainable tourism to the fishing community and boost the regional economy, says a senior tourism department official. “Traditional fishing villages have enormous potential and tourists would like to experience the authentic life of fishing villages.” adds the official. “The project would be implemented on a war footing and the destination would be officially launched ahead of next year’s tourist season.”

The tourism department, in fact, has already taken steps to form responsible tourism units in Adimalathura. According to the plan, tourists would be offered a host of experiences ranging from traditional fishing methods, seafood delicacies, fish auction and sale of value-added fish products.

The heads of the Responsible Tourism Mission and the Regional Council for the Promotion of Tourism have already carried out a study on the possibilities. “It’s a place where you can enjoy fresh seafood; tourists can savor unique local seafood cuisines,” says the head of the tourism department. “We want to introduce food souvenirs to the village – seafood souvenirs with unique recipes from the fishing community here.”

Bed and breakfast in the hamlet
After the project is completed, tourists would be offered a great combo – trendy tourism in Kovalam and village life in Adimalathura. “Adimalathura would be the first fishing hamlet to be themed and entirely dedicated to tourism,” says the manager. “The local body was tasked with identifying community members for the project. Preparation of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is ongoing. Once approved, the project would be implemented with funding from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB).

There are 150 to 200 fishermen’s houses in the village. Homestays would be here, so tourists can stay and experience the culture and heritage of the area. “All of this would be done without disturbing the traditional setting of the hamlet,” adds the manager. Located close to the Azhimala Temple – which gained international fame thanks to the 58-foot-tall statue of Lord Shiva – Adimalathura Beach is already seeing increasing crowds. “The temple is part of the international tourist circuit and the beach is next to it,” the official said.

Conservation is the priority
As part of the project, the tourism department would focus on the conservation of Adimalathura Beach. “Beach boundaries would be marked and no construction activity would be allowed in the area. Areas would be demarcated for trade and other activities,” the official explains. “Creeping encroachments have ruined Kovalam, and we don’t want that to happen in Adimalathura.”

Safe and secure nightlife
If things go according to plan, the destination will also offer after-dark activities. “Solar lighting would be provided to illuminate the destination. Nightlife is one thing that our tourist sites lack. We would provide a safe and secure environment for tourists visiting the village and the beach,” the manager adds. “The cultural programs of the fishing community would be another highlight. A night walk along the beach and extended hours of tourist activities are also planned.

Kovalam gets a makeover
Kerala Tourism plans to rebrand Kovalam by expanding the facilities and offering a wider range of experiences to tourists. More adventure sports and responsible tourism elements involving the local community would be added, officials said.

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