While practising Responsible Tourism, The Blue Yonder has been building partnerships across the world to “create better places for people to live in and visit”.
The Blue Yonder (TBY) has been offering Responsible Holidays since early 2004 in India. An initiative that was set up to bring in attention of the world into a sadly depleted River Nila (Bharatapuzha) in central Kerala is now the flag-bearer of the Responsible Tourism movement in the country.
Based in the city of Bangalore, TBY now offers unique holiday experiences in different states of India – Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Rajasthan, Kerala and Karnataka. Covering three primary areas of People, Culture and Wilderness, its holidays are designed in a way that it is economically, socially and environmentally just.
While practising Responsible Tourism, TBY has been building partnerships across the world to “create better places for people to live in and visit”.
The Blue Yonder evolved out of the Nila Foundation, a not for profit organisation founded by Gopinath Parayil in 2004. While looking for financial resources to fund the Nila Foundation, he came up with the idea of The Blue Yonder (TBY). ‘Idea was to be less dependent on external funding, but create the wealth ourselves so that the initiative becomes sustainable and not controlled and dictated by external groups or funding agencies,’ says Gopinath.
“The biggest challenge in front of us was that most part of the River Nila was in a decayed state. So, how would a traveller be invited to come and visit our region?”’, says Gopinath. The involvement of the local people was felt to be critical to begin any efforts at revival.
Hence, from inception, TBY pursued the objective of enabling a joint tourism development agenda with the support of the local population. The people decide for themselves, or are at least involved in the decisions on how tourism should look like to be accepted by them.
TBY’s focus wasn’t just about the water in the river, it was about the people, culture, heritage, lifestyle, livelihood and their future, where it was trying to communicate to the local communities about the relevance of the river in their day to day life by creating meaningful connection.