Kabani – The other direction
Driven by an objective to avoid numerous pitfalls of mass tourism development and its impact on the environment and the daily-life of local communities, in 2005, we took the initiative of creating KABANI – the other direction; a non-profit campaign organisation. With its base in the state of Kerala (South India), we aims at, reducing those negative impacts on communities and natural resources.
Named after the river Kabani, one of the rivers in Kerala flowing in the “other direction” than the other rivers, we are promoting an “other direction” in the present form of tourism. Since our inception, we have been working as a campaign and research organisation to raise awareness among our own communities, incoming tourists and tour operators that are the key players in executing a sustainable tourism in our country. The main activities of Kabani consists research, advocacy, awareness creation, policy level interventions, training, networking and the facilitation of better community driven tourism models.
A Unique and Balanced Combination of “Oppose and Propose”
Our one and half decade of advocacy experience in tourism as researchers, social activists and campaigners has enabled us to redefine our approach towards tourism advocacy. In 2007, Kabani envisaged an “Oppose and propose” strategy to combat the ill effects of tourism.
While opposing mass tourism and its adverse impacts on local communities, environment and resources, Kabani proposes (and has implemented) a different model of tourism which directly benefits local communities and avoids major pitfalls of mainstream tourism.
KABANI – Community Tourism & Services
In an attempt to restructure our efforts to achieve sustainable tourism with a strengthened network, in 2014, we formed a company called “KABANI – Community Tourism & Services (P) Ltd”, a registered company under the Indian companies’ act, to develop and facilitate community tourism and other entrepreneurial initiatives.
This company is promoted by the directors of Kabani – the other direction, our nonprofit entity and few other professionals, both the organizations thus function in inter- related cordiality. It is not merely a business project, rather a combined call to address the larger political system, on themes of local sustainability and self-sufficiency. We carry an ‘unusual business’ approach rather than a ‘business as usual approach’ in our activities. The major profit portion of the company will be contributed to nonprofit entity in order to bring self-sufficiency and adequate independent resource to the research, advocacy and campaigns to ensure sustainable tourism.
The communities involved in this programme consider tourism as an additional income. Farmers, who face a severe agrarian crisis due to several reasons, including price fluctuations and change in climate, use the income from tourism meaningfully in order to cope with the crisis situation. This programme is getting a special momentum especially in the context of farmers’ suicides in this region.
Kabani first started by setting up its non-profit initiative as a creative space and then, having learned from it, formed a company. In that way, we also followed ‘the other direction’, as compared to many other companies. This approach is also aimed at self-sufficiency of the NGO and its activities. It ensures a certain share of income from the tour programmes and other activities to sustain its political activities without depending on external funding.
Both organisations share one vision and are interlinked, but at the same time work with clear professional definition and differentiation. All our programmes are designed with a strong political and theoretical background which is clearly reflected in all the activities.