In the banks of River Nila in Kerala, tourists across the world have planted 7 acres of forest in the last twelve years.
Ajay a photographer and Gopi a tourism enthusiast started the Responsible Tourism movement in India based on river Nila.
Gopinath Parayil (Gopi) started a travel outfit The Blue Yonder 12 years ago to bring the attention of the world on the River Nila and its heritage.
Ajay capturing the soul of people and places through his photographs started journey the Project Nila in the monsoon with a group of travel / photography enthusiasts.
Travelers across the globe joined them to know the unique river valley civilization and the culture.
They started a Travelers’ forest – every single traveler who has passed through Nila has planted a sapling in last twelve years.
No mineral water bottles are purchased to protect the environment and to engage with local people for water.
Interactions and performances of authentic Kathakali in a heritage village is a part of it.
The musical trail showcases Pancha Vaadyam and Thayampaka to students including women and children from all caste and religions.
The trip also facilitated winners like Pranhavathi Amma who is the sole heir to the knowledge of crafting Killimangalam mats.
It is hard to imagine a plastic-free, culturally-rich and environment-protecting tourist destination.
Can other tourist place emulate this model of Responsible Tourism?
World Tourism Day, September 27.