Experience wildlife the tribal way

Each of the three Evolve Back Resorts in Coorg, Kabini and Hampi are committed to the concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’, says Jose T Ramapuram, Executive Director

Situated amid 300 acres of coffee and spice plantations, flanked on one side by the Dubare Reserve Forest and River Cauvery on the other is Evolve Back, the first resort from Orange County Resorts and Hotels Ltd in Coorg. Having opened its doors to guests in 1994, the resort has been built on the theme of coffee, spice and plantation life to reflect the true spirit of the city. From its inception, this beautifully themed working plantation resort has married the finest guest facilities with outstanding service standards to offer its discerning upmarket traveller an idyllic retreat into a bygone, more relaxed era of gentleman planters. The resort added a state-of-the-art Vaidyasala, a serene Ayurvedic Spa and built exclusive ‘private pool villas’, all inspired by the ethnic Kodava architecture in 2000. 

Orange County Resorts & Hotels Ltd opened its second resort at Kabini in 2007. Inspired by the local Kadukuruba Hadis, the architecture of this themed resort was crafted to transport the discerning guests into a tribal milieu from where one can enjoy the spectacle of Asia’s largest biosphere. With location and luxury coming together in such a happy union, Evolve Back, Kabini offers guests a chance to experience wildlife the tribal way. In 2016, Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi saw the light of the day. Inspired by the grandeur and magnificence of the 14th century Vijayanagara Empire, it is located 4 km from the historic ruins of Hampi. Kamalapura Palace complements its surrounding by adding to its beauty and splendour while enthralling its guests with its luxurious offerings. The property, in all its resplendence, is a glorious tribute to the heydays of the Vijayanagara Empire. The entire project has been designed after the promoters spent many months with the locals and studied the history of the region. Special care has been taken to weave in the cultural and traditional aspects of Hampi into the architecture, the theme, the interiors and other aspects of Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace. Visitors to the property get to experience a slice of history through the myriad elements that make a play for one’s senses during their stay.

“Orange County Resorts and Hotels is committed to the concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’ through which it seeks to enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the host community, apart from incentivising the retention and regeneration of their unique culture. Evolve Back is committed to employing the best in environmental and ecological practices in technology, equipment and operational processes,” says Jose T Ramapuram, Executive Director, Evolve Back.

Talking about the experience of being a part of the hospitality industry, he says, “It has been a rewarding experience and provided us with a lot of insight into human behaviour. As well as being a people-oriented industry, hospitality is creative. One is creating a product – be that food, drink, or an experience – and the entire creative process from conception to creation has been extremely fulfilling and full of learning. It has also opened a door to the world – exposure to world trends, meeting and dealing with people from across the globe has been a great learning and rewarding experience.”

Ramapuram opines the hospitality business in India is now considered a “sunrise industry” as it has a lot of potential in the near future. “It is one of the most profitable industries, currently employing more than 8.78 per cent of the entire workforce of the country and expecting to generate millions of more employment opportunities in the coming years. With more people experimenting with their travel habits, it is fairly easy to reach newer audiences when it comes to domestic travel. The opportunity to experience the most serene views with amazing local activities is what can drive more people to it,” he feels, adding more local businesses like lodging, food and beverages, crafting and other activities get a chance to engage with tourists, keeping their livelihood alive.

Sharing their sustainability efforts, Ramapuram says, “The concept of ‘Responsible Tourism’ comes naturally to us. It is an extension of the vision and philosophy of the House of Ramapuram whose values are broad, contemporary, and inclusive. This spirit of responsible stewardship guides the managerial practices of the hospitality sector, which is now a growing arm of the family’s commercial expansions. The principal tenets of responsible tourism can be seen and experienced in day-to-day life. Our sustainable efforts help us offer experiences to our guests that speak of the fragility of ecosystems of which we are all apart and the measures that can be taken consciously to soften our footprints upon a beleaguered environment.” The common initiatives at all the properties include water conservation, dual flushing cisterns, STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) with stream-water standard output installed, treated water being used for horticulture, foam flow faucets being used to reduce water consumption, solid waste management, biogas plant processing kitchen waste, biogas sludge being used as fertiliser (organic manure), degradable/ biodegradable waste segregation and much more. 

Tourism in India has a lot of promise due to the country’s rich cultural and historical background as well as its diverse environment, terrains and natural beauty spots, feels Ramapuram. “Furthermore, travel constraints and health concerns reduced foreign tourism demand while increasing domestic tourism popularity. Domestic travel was considered to be bigger than ever in 2021, particularly in India. For travellers, the idea that they can take quick trips for less money in locations that are still amazing is a huge win. It offers them a sense of finding their culture and a greater connection to their roots. Domestic travel is a growing trend that combines basic conveniences with breathtaking vistas, and it will only grow in popularity over time,” he says.

The Group is now working to expand their presence in Mandu, Madhya Pradesh and Karwar, Karnataka nationally and have plans to go international with properties in Bhutan and the Maldives.

This article was published in BW hotelier issue dated '' with cover story titled 'BW HOTELIER MAY-JUNE 2022'


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