Eco tourism is one of the elements of nature tourism. It is not a product for the masses, but for a limited group of real nature lovers. Packages in this segment of the tourism industry in Kerala include trekking and camping in the forest, adventure journeys, boating in the dam reservoir, wildlife watching, etc.
Eco tourism is the latest addition to Kerala’s tourism packages.
Considering the growing importance of eco tourism, Govt. of Kerala, has taken steps to give focused attention to the development of eco tourism. A separate eco tourism wing has been created to give policy support for the development of eco tourism destinations in Kerala. Accordingly, in 1998, ‘Thenmala Eco tourism Project’ in and around Shenduruney Wildlife Sanctuary was planned and was opened in 1999 for the public. Since then the area has been developing as a favorite destination for genuine eco tourists. This place is jointly developed by Tourism, Forest and Irrigation departments. The objectives of this eco tourism project are the following:
- To develop ‘Thenmala Dam Reservoir’ and catchments areas as a major tourist destination.
- To promote eco tourism on the basis of sound principles of ecological sustainability in the area.
- To have a well-planned tourism destination with a model destination development programme.
Thus, Thenmala range has been developed into India's first planned eco tourism destination with the participation of Eco-Development Committees constituted by and registered with the Forest Dept. Guided trekking programmes, boating, camping inside the forest for up to 3 days, etc. are the packages available there.