A need, a commitment and The Promise
For centuries development has meant depletion of natural resources. Abraham Lincoln pointed out almost 2 centuries ago that one “cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.” And so it has come to pass that the development sans responsibility in which man has indulged, over the last two hundred years, has brought us all to a situation where we can no longer evade it. For as Sir David Attenborough remarked, “Surely we have a responsibility to leave for future generations a planet that is healthy and habitable by all species.” Kalypso agrees. Responsible travel in India has been our deepest credo from the first days of our existence.
When Responsible Travel began for Kalypso
Kalypso has since inception recognised and been mindful of Kerala’s image as a tourist destination that encourages Responsible Tourism. Kerala is a treasure house of opportunity for the nature lover and those mindful of sustainable practices. Nineteen years ago when we set out on this journey, we were clear about one thing which was that we wouldn’t harm the land and its people in anyway.
Today we still stand firm on that initial belief, but we have added some layers to it by affirming that Kalypso will also help in any and all ways. And so helping to preserve the environment which is our karmabhoomi (operational area), engaging local population and businesses – all of who form our extended support team, and identifying potential to be trained into our fine, sharp guides, drivers and cooks has been the core of our belief system.
Across the world we see the destruction that the unrestricted race for development and wealth creation has wreaked on the earth’s resources. In Kerala, a thin sliver of land crisscrossed by 44 rivers, interspersed by backwaters, bordered by ancient mountains on one side and the sea on the other and blessed with two seasons of luxuriant rain, nature and the preservation of its precarious balance is of utmost importance. We see the effects of rising sea-levels, global warming and depredation of forests almost at our doorsteps. Kalypso has always recognised the need for continuous and sustained action to ward off the wolf at our door.
The commitment – Responsible Travel in India
At Kalypso we acknowledge that the best way for us who are in this industry, to contribute is by affirming principles of responsible travel in our everyday actions. Hiring local, using local businesses, encouraging zero-carbon-footprint generating activities like cycling, kayaking and trekking, following LNT practices, reducing single-use plastic, creating awareness in the local population about conservation…the list is endless!!
We have from the outset chosen our guides and drivers from the extremely under-privileged backgrounds of the local milieu. With two years of preparation – etiquettes, language, cultural awareness and sensitivities, and training in professional areas, we see a different individual with a can-do outlook on life who is ready to take himself and Kalypso forward. To underline this we have a few stories to tell – of Francis who used to be an auto-rickshaw driver. And whose gambling debts led to him selling his auto-rickshaw and having hit rock-bottom when he came to us. Today, thirteen years later, Francis is our senior-most guide and popular tour leader and has travelled across India and Sri Lanka. Then there is Anoop, another case in point who started out as a farmhand after high school. When he drifted into Kalypso, his keenness in birding was soon spotted and encouraged. Anoop has developed into a highly-rated naturalist who now leads birding and wildlife tours across India. Each one of our staff is a similar story with just minor variations. This is the transformation we aim at. We intend it to continue.
Across these 19 years of existence we have set goals and targets towards responsible travel and achieving them along the way has always given us moments of quiet satisfaction. Now in recognition of the urgency of the hour we aim to aspire higher. Kalypso in our attempt to make a difference in our world promises to henceforth focus on cutting out single-use plastic and discovering and promoting hitherto unknown destinations. Promises have been our forte. We are good at keeping them.
Kalypso believes that travel transforms lives. Responsible Travel enhances lives. Our faith in Responsible Travel in India is therefore reaffirmed every day.