The right blend of coffee and tourism

Fascinating trails

Coffee lovers and those with wanderlust have something to rejoice over. Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL), in collaboration with the Ministry of Karnataka Tourism and Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, recently launched the Kaapi Trail, a tourism product which allows one to experience coffee in its homeland with a single click.

The trails will cover coffee regions like Coorg, Chikmagalur, BR Hills and Araku Valley and offer three types of tourism packages – heritage trail, wild trail and leisure trail.
Depending on the package chosen, travellers will visit coffee plantations, stay in carefully handpicked homestays, go for jeep safaris in the wild and on cycling tours and more importantly, experience the local culture, traditions and cuisine.

Interestingly, this project had its beginnings place last year itself, when the City airport was full of little kiosks selling different varieties of coffee for domestic and foreigners to get a taste of the South.

“Last year, the promotion began as a way of introducing people to the pleasures of coffee drinking and to strengthen the diversity of tourism attractions of the state. Trails like this have been successful world over. The Scotch trails, for example, combine scotch whiskey with the wonderful landscape of Scotland. This is our version of it with the common thread of coffee,” says Hari Marar, President, operations, BIAL.

For Jawaid Akhtar, chairman, Coffee Board, this move will make Bangalore the gateway to South India.

He points out the benefits of this trail – “This will not only increase the coffee grower’s income and the occupancy of the homestays in the coffee regions. But the microclimate in which Indian coffee is grown will be exposed to tourists,” he shares.

“We need to take this product to tour operators around the world and get it incorporated into brochures. This will ensure that tourists see it as a part of the Indian offering,” informs Madhavan Menon, managing director, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd. He adds, “We’re not trying to create a new genre of products but a new destination.”

In fact, this is the first time that tourism and coffee are coming together, and the convenience aspect of having a readymade travel plan is truly a big step forward.

 “It’s great that this concept has germinated into a product. This is chance for Karnataka to show that coffee’s a way of life in this part of the world; it’s integrated in our culture. We live coffee, drink coffee and dream coffee,” wraps up Arvind Jadhav, additional chief secretary, Karnataka State Tourism.

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