RT at Wayanad was launched on 1st Sept 2008, almost six months after the launch in Kumarakom. Though not viewed as successful as Kumarakom in the RT implementation, RT did get noticed at Wayanad through several initiatives. Followed by the decision of the SLRTC to take up the four destinations for RT implementation on 21st April 2007, the first destination level workshop was organized at Wayanad on 6th May 2007 at Green Gates Hotel, Kalpetta. The workshop was attended by 90 people including all the three MLAs from the region. Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO), an NGO in Wayanad, announced their support to the RT concept and declared that all their members would become RT partners.

Apart from the economic responsibility, the importance of social and environmental responsibilities was highlighted in the workshop. The community and the tourism entrepreneurs were made aware of their responsibilities, especially to see that only eco-friendly practices were followed in eco-sensitive areas.

Unlike the other three RT destinations, the geographical area of Wayanad covered the entire district when Wayanad was selected for pilot intervention. It was felt that if such vast area is taken for RT implementation, there has to be several DLRTCs within Wayanad, each representing attractions like Pookote Lake, Edakkal caves and Kuruva Dweep. Considering the complexities, it was decided to limit the implementation area to a region including Vythiri, Kalpetta, Pozhuthana and Meppadi Panchayats, together forming the Vythiri cluster. The core area of RT in Wayanad was the Vythiri Panchayat.

Personal interviews were conducted at the destination following a detailed interview with the RT Cell coordinator of the destination. Among the three responsibility areas, the progress made in the social and environmental fronts were minimal, though efforts are seen to be made. The sources of information at Wayanad are given in Appendix 3-1.

1. RT related structure

  1. SLRTC
  2. The Panchayat President of Vythiri is well aware of the concepts of RT and is a member of the SLRTC. The constitution of SLRTC is felt to have good representation. Though meetings are held by the SLRTC, lack of continuity in decision making is experienced which is reflected in the implementation of the decisions taken.

  3. Destination Level RT Committee
  4. The DLRTC was formed during the destination level workshop held on 6th May 2007. The Committee was constituted with members of the Panchayat, representatives of NGOs, government, tourism industry, media and academics. The District Panchayat President was named as the Chairman of the Committee. The list of members of DLRTC formed in the workshop is given in Annexure 4-1.

    The DLRTC met once again on 23rd Nov 2007. The Committee has not contributed much, according to Sri Gagarin, the present Panchayat President of Vythiri. Meetings were conducted, but the decisions taken were not implemented. After the formation of RT cell, the Executive Committee of DLRTC met once and in the meeting, Director of Tourism and representatives of WTO were present. Secretary (DTPC) is the Convener of DLRTC, and the involvement of DTPC Secretary in RT implementation was felt to be not significant. Since the responsibility of convening the meeting of DLRTC was with the RT Cell Coordinator, the DLRTC never met. Since the term of RT Cell ended in June 2010.

  5. Destination level Working Groups
  6. The DLRTC at Wayanad also formed working groups as envisaged in RT implementation. But the number of times these working groups met is just once. These groups were dormant, which is reflected in the experimentations made with success and more failures during the implementation of RT.

  7. Technical Support Cell at District level
  8. RT implementation at Wayanad started without the RT Cell. Before setting up the RT cell, there was practically no activity. If the RT Cell coordinator is quoted, only 150 kg of "Gandhakasala" rice was supplied to hotels before RT Cell started functioning. All the actions and programmes under RT came up only after the RT cell started functioning. The Cell initiated the Samrudhi shop and helped in making contracts with the hotels and resorts. The RT cell could help trigger RT implementation. After the term of the RT Cell, the pace in RT implementation has slowed down as can be seen from the Table 4-1 below. Value of sales through Samrudhi increased from the first half to second half substantially in 2009, but decreased in 2010. Similarly, when there was considerable growth in sales during the first half of 2010 compared to the first half of 2009, the growth was less in the second half of 2010.

    Table 4-1. Comparative sales through Samrudhi for the years 2009 and 2010
    Value of sales by Samrudhi Group Change from 1st half to 2nd half
      Jan to Jun Jul to Dec Total  
    2009 11801.40 115024.70 126826.10 103223.30
    2010 233408.60 179405.00 412813.60 -54003.60
    Increase 1878% 56% 225%  

    Besides actively involving in the economic responsibility activities of RT concept, the Cell has initiated efforts in the social and environmental responsibility frontiers also. The RT Cell has helped in the development of three types of souvenirs in Wayanad - spice kits, etchings of Edakkal caves and Coffee stump products. A festival calendar produced by the cell provided festivals, temple arts, customs and rituals of the destination, which are of interest to cultural tourists.

    The RT Cell has prepared a destination management plan for the Edakkal caves and premises in consultation with Nenmeni Grama Panchayat, DTPC, WTO, staff of Edakkal, shop owners and the residents around the caves. The Cell also provided training to the community members and guides who were to participate in the package tour of Village Life Experience.

  9. Price Fixing Committee
  10. A Price Fixing Committee was constituted with Panchayat President, CDS Chairperson, RT Cell Coordinator, hotel managers and members of Samrudhi as members. This committee met three or four times before the RT Cell ceased to function. Interestingly, role of the Price Fixing Committee is not fully known to the Samrudhi members.

  11. Quality Committee
  12. The need of a Quality Committee was not felt very much in Wayanad, according to a Samrudhi Activity Group member. Samples of the items were given before supplying the quantity ordered. The hotels are said to be satisfied with the quality of items supplied.

  13. Samrudhi Activity Group
  14. The Samrudhi activity group was formed in 2008. There was much enthusiasm and interest from the hotels at the launching of the Samrudhi shop But the initial vigor slowly faded out. There are two Samrudhi shops in the destination and the Panchayat has given them rent free space. The first shop is at Vythiri, started on 8th March 2009 and the second one is at Pookote, started on 9th Sept 2009.

    When Samrudhi was started, there were six members in the group including four women. The members were from different Kudumbasree units. Now there are only three members and the operation of the shops is reported to be uneconomical. Still the new Panchayat President has suggested that more shops should be started in Wayanad as part of the same chain for better participation of the community.

    The initial investment in Samrudhi is Rs. 2.35 lakhs, including loan and individual shares. The Samrudhi unit has taken a loan of Rs. 2.2 lakhs and received a subsidy of Rs. 60000. Monthly repayment is Rs. 5500. On an average, a member of Samrudhi unit earns about Rs. 3000 a month, @ Rs. 100 per day. The members also take 10% of the profit. The monthly sales from March 2009 to May 2010 are given in Table 4-2.

    Table 4-2: Monthly sales through Samrudhi shops
    Sl No Month Supplies to hotels Open sale Souvenir & spice shops Others Total
    1 Mar-09
    2 Apr-09
    3 May-09
    4 Jun-09
    5 Jul-09
    6 Aug-09
    7 Sep-09
    8 Oct-09
    9 Nov-09
    10 Dec-09
    11 Jan-10
    12 Feb-10
    13 Mar-10
    14 Apr-10
    15 May-10

    The general feeling was that qualities of products available in Samrudhi shops were not good. Initially, vegetables grown in Vythiri were supplied to the hotels. These included pulses, bitter gourds, pumpkins and amaranthus. The supply of vegetables was discontinued due to its shortage which can be attributed to the climatic variation and damages caused by animals. All the vegetable items required by hotels are not grown in Wayand and thus Samrudhi could not supply these. This also is a reason for discontinuing the supply of vegetables to the hotels.

    When Samrudhi was started, there was less open sale and the main focus was to sell the products to hotels and resorts. The period from October to June is stated to be having good sales with additional sales during weekends. According to the data made available by the Samrudhi group, 64 items were tried for supplying to the Hotels and resorts in Wayanad since March 2009. Though most of the items could not be continued for long, the Samrudhi group did gain knowledge regarding the necessities and pulse of the industry. The main items supplied through Samrudhi are tea, coffee powder, curry powder, papads, kondattoms, spices and cashew nuts. Some of these items are sourced from units outside the RT implementing area.

    According to the RT Cell coordinator, Samrudhi was active, but lacked local support. Timely delivery of orders procured is essential to sustain the interests of the hotel. It is necessary to maintain good coordination between Samrudhi, Kudumbasree units, Panchayat and Agricultural department in activities like supply of seeds, funding etc.

    According to the CDS Chairperson, establishing more Samrudhi shops will help to spread the message of RT and help many more families. Right now, many of the families are unaware of the RT shops. Due to the absence of profit making intentions and initial low returns, the members could not take back any revenue. However, we found that one Samrudhi volunteer later became a Panchayat member which suggested that the incentives are not always monetary. This was a positive sign of women getting into positions of decision making.

    • There is a general feeling that the products supplied through Samrudhi are of poor quality.
    • Timely delivery to hotels was not happening
    • Supply was difficult due to shortage of vegetables.
    • Lease land farming was not possible.
    • Growing vegetables faced difficulties like climate variation and animal menace.
    • From 15 hotels that received supplies from Samrudhi, the participating hotels have come down to four.

    Samrudhi depended on non-perishable items and adopted open sales. They sourced items from places like any other trader does. This was necessary for raising revenue to repay the loan. But the role of Samrudhi as conceived while implementing RT as exclusive outlets for RT products could not be fully realized, mainly due to economic reasons.

  15. Farmers' Group
  16. The number of farmers associated with Samrudhi group increased from 10 to 24 in January 20101. The emphasis was on organic farming. The farmers were helped by MSSRF in the beginning. However, the contribution of farmers in RT faced hindrances like adverse climate and damages by wild animals.

    1.Minutes of the 7th meeting of SLRTC held on 16th Feb 2010.

2. Relationship among partners and stakeholders

RT is a concept implemented in Wayanad without the direct financial support of DoT. Pooling of resources and convergence of funds from other agencies are important in the successful implementation. The LSG has supported the implementation and maintained close contacts with RT Cell Coordinator, CDS, industry and Kudumbasreeand the Space for the Samrudhi shop is given free of rent by the LSG.

But it is a fact that RT could rope in only very few hoteliers compared to the number of hoteliers in the destination. Also, Samrudhi with the present scale of operation would not be able to cater to the demand of more hoteliers.

The Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO), an association of hotels and resorts in Wayanad, has been organizing an annual event called "Splash" since 2009. In the first year, the event lasted for one week and the second one lasted for three days. This event has given opportunities to the local community to sell the local produces and the tribal to perform stage shows.

The production units of RT were willing to help each other. The Vaishnavi Kudumbasree unit, which is known for the kondattoms, expressed their willingness during the interaction of the evaluation team with them to provide training to other units to make kondattoms of good quality level.

3. Ownership by the local body

The Panchayat Samiti is actively involved in RT related initiatives. The development works need to have the approval and sanction of the Panchayat Samiti. Hence discharging the responsibility of the Panchayat in protecting the interest of the community will include not allowing any development in encroached land and controlling unauthorized constructions. While these are functional responsibilities of the Panchayat, the RT implementation needed initiatives and leadership that could link the community and the tourism industry to become responsible participants of tourism development.

The former and present Panchayat Presidents and the members have taken a keen interest in the implementation of RT. According to the present Panchayat President, attempts are being made to make land available for lease farming. There is further scope for organic farming and to open more Samrudhi shops.

It cannot be said that the Panchayat was highly involved in the implementation of RT. Only the Panchayat President was seen to be active in the RT implementation during the last Panchayat Samithi. The main contribution of the Panchayat in RT was the Samrudhi shop. It also gave support for contacting hotels.

The new Panchayat Committee has shown more interest in RT. The first meeting that has already been held by the Panchayat has given importance to environmental factor and programmes have been chalked out for clean and plastic free Vythiri.

4. Ownership by industry

Number of accommodations in Vythiri taluk comprises of three 3-star hotels, 27 non-classified hotels, seven home stays, two Government rest houses and two ayurveda centres. In the Sultan Bathery taluk, there are 10 hotels including one in 2-star category, two home stays and a Government Guest House. In Mananthavady Taluk, there are 10 non-classified accommodation units and two home stays2. The eight hoteliers given in Table 4-3, including the three 3-star classified hotels, signed a MoU stating their participation in the destination level workshop organized on 6th May 2008.

2.Report on Responsible Tourism Phase I, Wayanad, GITPAC - RT Technical Support Cell, June 2010

Table 4-3: List of accommodation units that signed MoU in May 2008
Sl No Accommodation Category Number of rooms
1 Wynberg Resorts, Thrikkaipettah (Vythiri Taluk) and Kuzhivayal Estate (Sultan Bathery Taluk) Not classified 13+28
2 Hotel Haritagiri, Kalpettah (Vythiri Taluk) 3-star 35
3 Vythiri Resorts, Vythiri (Vythiri Taluk) 3-star 39
4 Green Gates, Kalpettah (Vythiri Taluk) 3-star 34
5 Edakkal Hermitage, Edakkal (Sultan Bathery Taluk) Not classified 7
6 Pranavam Homestay, Vythiri (Vythiri Taluk) Silver House 4
7 Ente Veedu, Kayakkunnu (Mananthavady Taluk) Gold House 4
8 Hill View Home, Vaduvanchal Gold House 4

Though eight hoteliers signed the MoU, number of partnering hotels in the beginning was only three. This number of partnering hotels increased from three to 10 by January 2010 and to 15 hotels later. But participation of some of the hotels could not be said as being wholehearted as can be seen from the sales records. Higher price compared to other sources is one reason for some of the hotels to discontinue or reduce the purchases from Samrudhi. At present, the supply is made only to four hotels.

As mentioned earlier, Samrudhi group attempted to supply 64 items since March 2009 to the industry. Out of these, 28 items were supplied only once. Another eight items were supplied only in two months. Price and quality are said to be two deterring factors that hotels do not entertain purchases from Samrudhi. But according to the RT Coordinator, except one or two hotels, no one has complained about the quality. The concern was mostly about price. It is a known fact that the persons in charge of purchase in hotels receive incentives from the suppliers of established brands. The hotels also get supplies from established markets that give them a longer credit period. The main hotels that supported the RT implementation at Wayanad and the purchases they made through RT are given in Table 4-4.

Table 4-4: List of hotels that supported RT most
Sl No Name hotel / resort Items purchased Value of purchase made in 2010 (Rs)
1 Vythiri Resort Tea powder, pappadam, kondattom (Chilly and bitter gourd), honey, cashew, lemon grass oil.
2 Hotel Green Gates Pepper, cardamom, cashew, nut maize, clove, star flower, nut mug, cinnamon, kismis
3 Pankaj Hotel Chilly powder, coriander powder
4 Greeshmam Resort Tea powder, pappadam, cashew
5 Rain Country Resort Lemon grass oil
6 Woodlands Hotel Cashew

Once the RT support cell at the destination ceased to function, two hotels from the above discontinued their purchases. In 2011, the participating hotels were reduced to three.

Figure 4-1: Sales through Samrudhi since March 2009

The sales through Samrudhi peaked in the months of December 2009 and January 2010 after which it decreased during the last six months of the services of RT Support Cell. After the RT Cell support was withdrawn, it more or less stabilized at that value.

Admittedly, the hotels and resorts are to incur financial losses when they buy items supplied through RT. But they should consider it as a social commitment and not a business commitment. The rapport which the local community has made with the hotels in the name of RT has helped to push some of the items to the hotels through the Samrudhi shops. Some of the participating hotels still remain because of the commitment of some of the individuals in the hotels. Some of the hoteliers also felt that the promotion materials developed by DoT in connection with RT implementation are not given to hotels. RT Certification process may help in marketing the role of hotels in implementing RT.

5. Benefits to the local community

Tribes form about 30% of the population in Wayanad Consisting of more than nine tribes. The implementation of RT has helped to check the exploitation of these communities by the tourism industry. The Village life Experience (VLE) tour packages have helped the community to get benefited from tourism directly.

RT has helped to establish a linkage between the local community and the tourism industry. The local residents including women are more involved in tourism development. A member who was actively involved in Samrudhi has become a member of the Grama Panchayat in the recent election.

Pappad is one of the main items supplied to hotels and resorts. Kudimbasree has a pappad making unit in Wayanad with seven members. They supply pappad to the Samrudhi shop. During the year 2010, pappad sales were to the tune of Rs. 84000. This is one item that could increase the sales even after the support of the RT technical cell was discontinued since June 2010.

Three paper bag units have come up in Wayanad. But marketing of these products is not yet aggressive. Vythiri is declared as "plastic free". Alternatives like paper bags can be expected to replace plastic bags in the destination.

There is good potential for handicraft units. Quality of souvenirs is a concern. "Uravu" is a well known handicraft unit in Wayanad that has specialized in bamboo products. Technical and training support to artisans in the region can be sought from "Uravu", which is represented in the SLRTC.

Local community is seen to be benefitted because of the employment provided to them. However, this cannot be attributed fully to RT. Vythiri resort for example employs about 75 persons and about 15 daily labourers. Fifty percent of the regular employees are from Wayanad and all the daily wage labourers are local residents.

An ethnic food corner at Edakkal was started which is operated by the Kuruma community. In the first six months itself, this unit generated sales revenue of over Rupees one lakh. Introduction of local flavor in the menus of hotels will help in generating demand for local cuisines. The local community will be benefitted by popularizing ethnic food.

A cultural activity group with 15 members was formed to promote the traditional culture of Wayanad. RT implementation at Wayanad has attempted to promote the art forms of Paniya and other communities like "Vattakali" and musical instruments of these communities like "Thudi" and "Cheeni".

There is a folk arts group with 45 members who are from the tribal community in the destination. All these members are daily wage earners. They make performances that last for sixty to ninety minutes in hotels with about 20 members in the troupe. This group is a beneficiary of RT and they could get upto ten pogrammes a month. Before RT, the group used to get only about Rs. 2000 per programme and after meeting the expenses for the show arrangement, their individual revenue was negligible. Today, they get Rs. 8000 per programme.

6. Role of Kudumbasree

Kudumbasree was a participant in the 1st destination level workshop organized in connection with the implementation of RT at Wayanad. Kudmbasree volunteered to be part of the implementation and expressed their willingness to act as the nodal agency in the supply of items to the hoteliers in the workshop.

Kudumbasree units have extended their support in the implementation of RT. Number of participating Kudumbasree units increased from 12 to 21 in Jan 2010. Vaishnavi Kudumbasree unit is specialized in producing kondattom with curd that gives a local flavor. The quality of the kondattom from this unit is rated high by the industry.

7. Gender aspects

More women are getting involved in tourism development since the RT implementation in Wayanad. As mentioned before, a member of Samrudhi shop has become a member of the Grama Panchayat in the recent elections. RT hence can be seen to have inspired women to come to the forefront and participate in the development activities of the region.

RT has given opportunities to women to undergo training and to become entrepreneurs. Women belonging to Kudumbasree units have undergone training in farming and the products are supplied to the hotels through Samrudhi.

8. Production system

Vegetable cultivation in Vythiri and nearby Panchayats was explored by the RT Cell. But commercial cultivation was difficult because of the proximity of the area to forest and damage of crops by wild animals. The tea plantations covered a large otherwise cultivable area. Pulpally and Panamaram Panchayats cultivate vegetables, but are far away from Vythiri. Two wholesale markets at Gundlepet and Ooty also discouraged local production and helped in the availability of vegetables to the hoteliers as well as local consumers at competing prices. This is one reason for shifting to the supply of non-perishable items to hotels by Samrudhi later.

Leafy vegetables like amaranthus and chillies are the major agri-produces that are traded through Samrudhi. Women here have undergone training to cultivate these crops. Initially, vegetables grown in Vythiri were supplied to the hotels. There were two to three CDS units that supplied vegetables. The supply was stopped when the production was affected due to climatic variation and animals, especially monkeys, damaged the crops. Lease land farming was not possible due to lack of availability of such land.

The prices of the locally produced vegetables were higher compared to the supplies from nearby Gundulpet and Ooty markets. Samrudhi adds a mark up and fix the price for the vegetables procured. The non-perishable items supplied through Samrudhi were sourced from Kudumbasree units and local farmers. Samrudhi faced difficulties in the beginning since the production units could not supply the items in time. Quality of the produces were also questioned by the hoteliers. These problems could be resolved by the intervention of RT Cell and LSG.

The main items produced and supplied include tea powder, coffee powder, cashew nuts, curry powder, papads, kondattoms and spices. These products, especially kondattoms are purchased from CDS units in Nenmeni and Panamaram. The production unit of curry powder at Nenmeni is mechanized. Pappad is sourced from a unit in Meppadi. Four to five CDS units supply the items to Samrudhi. Besides, three or four individuals supplies lemon grass oil for the hotels. Cashew nuts are sourced from Kasaragod.

No new CDS unit has been started since the implementation of RT began. Because of Samrudhi, these CDS units got another outlet to sell their products. By middle of 2010, 20 Kudumbasree units, 20 farmers and 10 handicraft units are selling their products through Samrudhi.

Organic vegetables were grown more for RT. But these could not be sold because of the price variation. Still, those who were giving leadership in the implementation of RT feel bright prospects for organic farming. Under an employment scheme, the Grama Panhcayat has proposals to make land available for lease farming, where organic farming can be promoted.

9. Collection and supply mechanism

At the beginning, the decision of the DLRTC was to promote only organic products. The MSSRF was also associated very closely with the RT movement, who themselves is in the business of organic farming and thus helped in organizing farmers to start organic farming. The farmers started vegetable cultivation in January 2009. After the formation of Samrudhi in March 2009, supply of vegetables to hotels started. When it was found that local farmers and Kudumbasree units became active in organic farming, participation of MSSRF in RT implementation was discontinued3. Non-perishable and semi-processed items produced by Kudumbasree units and local farmers also were brought into the collection and supply mechanism.

3.Report of Responsible Tourism Phase I, Wayanad, GITPAC-RT Technical Support Unit, June 2010.

The Samrudhi units contact the CDS units and collect the product details and communicate the same to the RT Cell. The RT Cell then contacts the hotels and resorts, the rate is fixed and purchase orders are taken. In the absence of RT cell

Report of Responsible Tourism Phase I, Wayanad, GITPAC-RT Technical Support Unit, June 2010.

now, the hotels contact the Samrudhi units directly and inform their requirement and time of supply expected. On the basis of this, the items are supplied. The Vythiri Grama Panchayat and the RT Technical Cell played a great role in establishing the link between hoteliers and Samrudhi. The supplies through Samrudhi started in March 2009. Sale through Samrudhi was Rs. 101694 in January 2010, out of which sale to hotels was Rs. 640084.

4.Minutes of 7th SLRTC meeting held on 16th Feb 2010.

The supply of vegetables through samrudhi continued only for a very short time. Spices and semi, processed food items and cash crops figured prominently in the supplied items to hotels and resorts. An analysis of the supplied items to hotels shows that six or seven items were supplied to the hotels regularly. These items accounted for nearly 80% of the sales value as can be seen in Table 4-5.

Table 4-5: Items supplied to hotels that formed 80% of the sales value during the two years up to 2010
Jan to Jun 2009 Jul to Dec 2009 Jan to Jun 2010 Jul to Dec 2010
Pappadam - 32% Cashew nuts (various forms) - 28% Cashew nut (various forms) - 33% Cashew nut (various forms) - 31%
Tea Powder - 11% Pappadam (various sizes) - 23% Pappadam (various sizes) - 16% Pappadam (various sizes) - 26%
Chilly kondattom - 11% Cardamom - 9% Tea Powder - 11% Lemon grass oil - 15%
Chilly Powder - 8% Tea Powder - 8% Lemon grass oil - 10% Tea Powder - 8%
Wheat Powder - 7% Bitter gourd kondattam - 5% Cardamom - 7%  
Bitter gourd kondattam - 5% Chilly Powder - 5%    

According to the Kudumbasree mission coordinator, the total sales revenue through Samrudhi shop comes from direct supplies to the hotels and sales through the Samrudhi shops. Presently, supplies to hotels form 50% of the total sales. Samrudhi does the packing and marks up the price by about 10% and supplies to hotels and resorts.

Samrudhi sales are affected due to the variation in market prices. Established brands of semi-processed food items like chilly powder are made available to the hotels by the manufacturers well in advance.

10. Local awareness and involvement

Local awareness about the RT can be said to be low in Wayanad when the number of participating accommodation units is considered. No new Kudumbasree unit has been formed for RT implementation. NGOs like Wayanad Tourism Organisation (WTO) and MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) have cooperated in the RT implementation. It can be said that RT at Wayanad has influenced the life and attitude of local community towards tourism industry and vice versa.

11. Media support

According to the present Panchayat President, the RT implementation got only very little support from the media. But according to the RT Coordinator, media coverage was good and this included features from Amritha TV.


Department of Tourism
Government of Kerala, Park View
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
India - 695 033
Keral Tourism
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