KOZHIKODE: Adventure tourism in Wayanad is on the expansion path with the District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) and private firms taking efforts to develop the most sought-after spots in the district. Locations such as Chembara hills, Pakshi Pathalam and Kabani River are the main draw for tourists for trekking, cycling, rafting and so on.  DTPC marketing and events manager Praveen P T told Express the council has been working towards promoting adventure tourism in the district for the past five years. “The DTPC has set up a Wayanad Adventure Camp close to Karlad Lake where tourists are provided kayaking, rafting, trekking, zip lining, rock climbing, etc. We are also trying to develop trekking in lesser-known areas such as Chengeri and Ambumutti hills,” he said. 

According to him, around 35,000 to 40,000 tourists visit the spot every month, exclusively for adventure sports. “The District Tourism Department has spent around Rs 5 crore in the past five years for the promotion of adventure tourism at  various localities,” he said.Launched in March 2016, the adventure camp boasts of a 270-m-long zip line, the longest across a lake in south India. “ The rate per person varies according to the activity. For instance,  zip lining which takes about 15 seconds one way, is pegged at Rs 290 per head, while for kayaking in Karlad lake the cost is Rs 230 for a pair,” said Wayanad Adventure Camp manager M S Dineshan.

A large chunk of people visiting Wayanad for adventure sports is foreigners and the young IT professionals from Bengaluru, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Within the state, visitors mostly hail from Eranakulam, Thiruvananthapuram, and Kasargod. In addition to the work done by DTPC, several private agencies also offer adventure sports as a part of their tourism package.

“Although the district has a huge potential for adventure tourism, it has not been optimally utilised. Hence, a lot of tourists prefer Munnar and Thekkady over Wayanad. Due to the location and climate factors, activities like trekking and rafting can be quite dangerous at times,” said Raj Madhan, founder of April Holidays travel and tourism company.

DTPC sees huge potential in Kannur
The District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has taken steps to actively promote kayaking, parasailing and paragliding, with a detailed project report submitted to the Tourism Department. DTPC secretary Jitheesh Jose said, “Once approved, we will set up adventure tourism spots at all possible locations. There is a huge scope for adventure tourism in the district. We have sought a sum of around Rs 70 lakh from the Tourism Department for the development of these spots.” The fund, he said, will be used to develop a kayaking facility. The DTPC has already organised kayaking expeditions on a trial basis at Dharmadam and Kattampally, all of which were a huge success.

“The initiative drew wide appreciation. And many have requested us to set up a permanent facility. We will develop a kayaking site once the funds are released. We will set up the facility at Dharamadam. We are also planning to buy around 25 kayaks,” he said.  Jitheesh said the DTPC is now conducting more studies to explore other possibilities and spots to promote adventure tourism.

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