In an effort to beat the odds following crop failure and rising debts, farmers in Kerala's spicy Waynad and rubber-rich Kottayam districts are taking the tourism route for prospects.
In the hilly district of Waynad, home to cardamom, coffee, tea and vanilla, farmers are opening their doors to tourists by renting out rooms to visitors. Homestays are catching up with about 30 farmers in the district involved in it, says K Ravindran, Secretary of the Kerala Wynad Tourism organisation, a constortium of about 22 hotels, resorts and homestays formed to promote the destination.
The organisation also has a programme to hone the skills of farmers in communication and hospitality and make them better equipped, he said. With Waynad becoming synonmous with farmers' suicide, the organisation feels tourism can be a way out for them. Tribals and farmers are showing interst in tourism, he said, adding there has been about 15 per cent to 20 per cent increase in tourists coming to the district