Thursday, August 24, 2017

Green Pearls® Unique Places: Kerala – Indian forerunner in ecotourism

Kerala – Indian forerunner in ecotourism

[Please note that this is a press newsletter that we reveived from Green Pearls®. It is not a paid ad. We found it interesting and thus pass it on to potentially  interested readers.]

Darmstadt, August 24, 2017 *** Behind China and the United States, India has the third-largest CO2 emissions worldwide. It would be inadequate to associate the subcontinent solely with poverty, crowds of people, mountains of waste and stomach problems. Kerala in Southwest India is a great example to refute these prejudices and will also help to perceive India through different eyes. Since 2007 the region is following a sustainable approach, assisted by the state. With the slogan "God‘s own country" the green aim is to hire and work with local craftsmen as well as suppliers on site, to support local social and cultural projects and awards. Many green and eco-friendly projects not only demonstrate these sustainable ways of thinking and acting, but also enable an authentic and direct contact with the people, the wonderful nature in the backwaters and plenty of cultural treasures. For example, you can dive into Ayurveda or learn how to do the traditional dance, called Kathakali.


Man-made forest in Kerala

In 1977 Abdul Kareem bought five acres of barren rock in Puliyankulam, in the region of Kerala, planning to plant trees there. In the first years he transported water for the plants in cans from outside sources on his two-wheeler. The people nearby and even his family were not sure what to make of his actions, so he became the laughing stock in his hometown. But, after years, the ecosystem was developing at a good pace.  Meanwhile, Abdul had bought another 27 acres of land and planted trees all his property, while constantly being motivated by the fruits of his labor. He has never weeded his „forest of childhood“, never lopped a tree, never raked the leaves, never hunted game, never selected a species and of course, never used chemicals of any kind. Abdul’s project is a showpiece for a sustainable forest. The forest is open for public always in compliance with Abdul’s regulations. Moreover, Abdul has turned down various offers to commercialize the forest and turning it into a theme park.


Less is more – Ecotourism in Kerala

The vision of ecotourism that respects and reflects the architecture and the local traditions turned into a mission for the Indian hotel group CGH Earth. In the late 1980s, CEO Jose Dominic together with CGH Earth was a pioneer in the field of responsible tourism, before it became popular in general and especially in the region of Kerala. Today, 20 years later, CGH stands for the main values of the enterprise – Clean, Green, Healthy. All resorts are built with local materials and the use of local knowledge. TheCGH Spice Village Resort in Thekkady, located in the south of India, is created like an old mountain village. The cottage roofs were made out of elephant grass - a traditional practice that was rarely used anymore- and will be passed on to the following generations. In 2009 the Spice Village Resort was awarded with the PATA Award for Environment. Thus being the first resort in India receiving this important award. Adding to that, the Spice Village is also the first resort in India to fully obtain its energy for power and lighting from solar energy. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––Focus on the local community

When up cycling was not even close to being a popular term, the CGH Coconut Lagoon Resort in Kuttanad in Kerala was built into a labyrinth of canals, rivers and lagoons only accessible by boat. The distinctive architecture of the Coconut Lagoon consists of villas that are over 150 years old, and were moved there, piece by piece, from the old houses of the county, that had fallen into ruins. The Coconut Lagoon marks a great place for you to get to know traditional dances like Kathakali and learn all about the traditional fight art Kalarippayattu. An in-house naturalist encourages guests to take part in the appreciation of biodiversity and to participate in the organic rice plantation and cultivation activities as well as tree plantation initiatives, within the property or in the neighbouring region. All materials and products are sourced within a 50-mile radius – benefitting the community and reducing their carbon footprint. 


Back to basics

The CGH Marari Beach Resort, located about 90 kilometers away from the airport of Cochin, consists of 16 huts with coconut palm thatched-roofs, arranged like an old fishing village. The resort offers different Ayurveda treatments, yoga courses and guided eco-tours through its butterfly garden. Furthermore, the architecture makes it possible to use natural lighting as well as natural ventilation. Almost all buildings on the property are made to achieve more than 92 percent of natural lighting during daytime. Like all CGH resorts, Marari reduces the dependency on fossil fuels as much as possible. Food waste from the staff mess and the restaurants is discarded into the biogas plant. The methane, generated as a result of the anaerobic composting, is utilized as fuel to cook food in the staff mess. 

–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––Decision for a green life – An unique organic village in Kerala

Chavara and his family put their old life behind to begin a new, healthier life in the lap of nature. The family lives in a self-built tree house. Since 2013 they live there together with 14 like-minded families in a self-sufficient organic village in Kerala’s Palakkad district. The land was previously used as a rubber plantation. Even the layout of the organic village has been planned, while keeping the principle of sharing and togetherness in mind. In addition, the families are planning to build a guesthouse and a large community kitchen, where everybody can cook and eat together. Having seen the positive effect of sustainable living on their children, the families care to design their own educational system that encourages children to live and act sustainably, in a child-friendly manner.
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––©Crowd Container©Carole Nordmann©Crowd ContainerThe Crowd Container "Päckli" - directly from an organic farm in India

3 containers, 29 different products, 1524 sold "Päckli". This is the result of Crowd Container in Switzerland.  During a stay in India, start-up founder Tobias visited a small spice plantation in Kerala. The plants grew wild everywhere, a perfect approach to an organic cultivation. However, this form of farming is a challenge for the farmers, since they need to find a market for each product. Then, Tobias had a marketing idea; which started the beginning of Crowd Container. The "Päckli" can be easily and directly ordered online on fair conditions. Crowd Container bundles the orders for filling a shipping container and passes them directly to the Indian farmers. The Crowd Container wages are two or even three times higher than the average world market price. The ordered „Päckli“ can be picked up in Bern, Zurich or St. Gallen or are delivered by a cargo-carrying bicycle. The Crowd Container vision is a network of consumers and producers for a fair and transparent food trade worldwide.

A quote of Hermann Hesse illustrates the many green and eco-friendly projects as well as the diversity and enormous fascination of India: "For those, who have been to India not only with the eyes, but with the soul, India will always remain a homesickness country."

The German Green Pearls GmbH with place of business in Darmstadt, Germany unifies international tourism companies that support environmental protection and demonstrate social commitment. Thereby, Green Pearls is the first holding company worldwide that consolidates sustainable hotels, destinations and restaurants in a global data source.

Among the criteria of admission to Green Pearls® Unique Places, are a sustainability plan on management level, sustainable architecture, comprehensive water, energy saving and waste recovery measures, the use of seasonal and regional ingredients in the kitchen, as well as a large commitment for the social balance in each of the vacation regions.–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Please click here for matching images in high resolution. All usage rights for images and photographies 
belong, unless otherwise noted, to the hotels concerned and must be quoted. For more information on Green Pearls® visit www.greenpearls.comFacebookInstagram and Pinterest or the Green Pearls BlogPress Contact:
Green Pearls GmbH
Dieburgerstrasse 203
64287 Darmstadt
T: +49 (0) 6151-273 669 11
F: +49 (0) 6151-273 669 19

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Big Bus Tours in 18 Cities Across Three Continents

We ran across Big Bus Tours online, where they describe themselves as "the largest operator of open-top sightseeing tours in the world, providing sightseeing tours in 18 cities across three continents." Take a look to see if a city you are visiting soon is on their list.

This is not an ad, just general travel info. We ourselves have never been on one of these buses and so cannot speak from personal experience.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Most Popular Luxury Travel Blog

This may in fact be the most popular luxury travel blog in the world:

see About A Luxury Travel Blog

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Top 2015 U.S. Travel Sites

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The High Line in New York City is a "Must See"

More visitors in New York City than the Statue of Liberty? Amazing.

If you go to New York City on business, holidays or vacation, be sure to see the New York City High Line, a unique "magical garden in the sky", a kind of "elevated thinking", represented by a garden-like public park built on 1 1/2 miles of elevated former train tracks right in New York City, with spectacular views of the surrounding scenery and architecture.

As written at Great Museums Television, Narrated by Academy Award®-Winning Actress Susan Sarandon, Airing Now on Public Television Nationwide
"(June 2014) -- Great Museums® Television’s newest documentary, “Elevated Thinking: The High Line in New York City,” begins airing nationally on public television in June 2014. New York City’s WNET airs "Elevated Thinking" as part of its series, “Treasures of New York” in primetime on June 17th at 8:00pm ET."
Deborah Berg McCarthy of New York City, youngest sister of one of my best friends, retired architect Lowell Berg, both Friends of the High Line, who I have known for over 50 years, writes at her Facebook site:
"Honored to be involved with Great Museums! Check out the theme song co-written by Doug Katsaros and yours truly! Tune in, June 17th, WNET for High Line program!"
See this absolutely marvelous "magical garden in the sky" at:
and make sure to tune in to WNET tonight at 8 p.m. ET if you have access.

To our way of thinking, "The High Line" may represent a new understanding of how to better blend parks and gardens into an urban environment.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

London and Paris Battle for Honor as World's Top Tourist Destination

London or Paris? Which one is Number One?

At the Telegraph, Paris beats London...says France.

Or is it really too close to call?

Holiday Destinations in April from Condé Nast Traveller

Spring on the rise? Ready for a holiday?

At Holiday destinations in April we read at the Condé Nast Traveller:
"In APRIL, the southern parts of Europe start warming up ...."
Read the rest here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Avebury Viewed as Popular World Heritage Travel Site by Which?

See BBC News - Avebury named second best World Heritage site by Which? where the report highlights that Avebury's key attraction is the "quiet, bucolic setting, the lack of crowds and the ability to wander freely".

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

"On The Way App" to Map Your Excursions, Tours and Travels and Find Points of Interest As You Go

Find interesting things on your travel route, whether a walk or a drive.

Rachel Lee Harris has the story at the New York Times at:

Mapping Your Drive And the Odd Stops on It -
"Ever get to the end of a road trip and realize you were just a few miles away from the shoe of the world’s tallest man but you missed it? Maybe not, but On the Way, a new online travel site for road trippers, was designed to help find such unusual attractions. When you enter your start and destination, the program will populate a map of your route with restaurants, museums and less traditional tourist sites using programming interfaces like Google Places, Foursquare, Yelp and Lonely Planet’s Points of Interest. It can help you find a Starbucks between New York and Washington, but it’s better for local alternatives like Miss Shirley’s Cafe in Baltimore."
Read the whole thing here.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Google Acquires Travel Site Frommers

At Tnooz - "talking travel tech" - Kevin May headlines that Google buys Frommers, destination content in search just got a little bit more interesting, writing:
"Google has made another strategic acquisition in the travel space, snapping up guidebook and online destination content publisher Frommer’s for an undisclosed fee."
Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Travel Destinations of German Vacationers and Travelers, 2012 and 2011

Die Welt in an article by Kira Hanser has the stats for German travelers' vacation destinations, based on data from the ADAC Reise-Monitor / Reiseanalyse 2012, as follows:
(see Die Welt at Das sind die beliebtesten Reiseziele der Deutschen):

2012: America, be happy....

14.6% of all German vacationers
plan a vacation abroad in 2012, as follows:
- 3.7% - USA
- 2.0% - Far East (e.g. China, Thailand)
- 1.7% - Caribbean
- 1.2% - Egypt
- 1.0% - North Africa (Morocco, Tunesia)
- 1.0% - Near and Middle East
- 0.8% - Canada
- 0.7% - the rest of Africa
- 0.6% - Australia, New Zealand, Pacific
- 0.5% - Central America
- 0.4% - South America
- 0.4% - Mexico

In 2011 there were 70,000,000 vacation trips by Germans
at an average expenditure of €868 per person per trip:

- 46.2% by car or recreational vehicle
- 37.2% by plane
- 8.4% by bus
- 5.5% by train
with the rest on cruises, etc.

Top 10 For 2011

German Vacation Destinations outside of Germany in 2011 (top 10)
Spain - 12.3%
Italy - 8.2%
Turkey - 7.4%
Austria - 5.2%
France 3.0%
Croatia - 2.7%
Greece - 2.6%
Poland - 2.3%
Netherlands - 2.1%
Denmark - 1.8%

German Vacation Destinations within Germany in 2011  (top 10)

Bavaria - 6.4%
Mecklenburg-Vorpommern - 6.1%
Schleswig-Holstein - 3.9%
Lower Saxony - 3.6%
Baden-Württemberg - 2.9%
Saxony - 1.3%
Northrine-Westphalia - 1.1%
Berlin - 1.0%
Rhineland-Palatinate / Saarland - 1.0%
Thuringia - 0.9%

and, as a sign of the times
Use of Mobile Internet Access by German Travelers

- weather - 37%
- information about local goods and services - 24%
- mapping and related - 23%
- general information about the travel destination - 23%
- public transportation - 15%
- other tourist-related topics - 15%
- booking of accommodations - 6%
- booking of transportation - 3%
- general booking - 2%

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Crete Greece Vacations: OUT OF THE BLUE Capsis Elite Resort

Capsis Hotels & Resorts writes about the Capsis Elite Resort on Crete:
"The OUT OF THE BLUE, Capsis Elite Resort is undeniably, by any measure, the most prestigious address in Crete".

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Travel Luxembourg by Bike: An E-Bike Experience in the Hilly North and the Ardennes

Frederika Whitehead has a biker of a posting
at the Bike Blog
at The Guardian
in Luxembourg by e-bike: a natural high

Hat tip to CaryGEE.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Kieler Woche 2012 16-24 June: Get the Kieler-Woche-App

For the sailor and lovers of Northern Europe's largest sailing festival:

The Kieler Woche this year is June 16-24, 2012, Kiel, Germany. Don't miss it.

And be sure to get the Kieler-Woche-App