The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the way people travel. Staycations, work from remote locations, slow travel and responsible tourism are some of the keywords that have found an increasing mention in the travel narrative. The good news from this extended pandemic is that remote destinations have found their rightful place in the travelers’ minds while discovering India and the subcontinent. However, there is a need for further awareness and continued conversations about how travel can be a force for change when the planet and people are at the heart of all travel.
In an endeavor to inspire people to promote sustainable travel and ‘thinking’ destinations, RARE, which is a community of some of the finest conscious luxury hotels, palace stays, wildlife lodges, homestays and retreats in the Indian subcontinent, has launched The Pinwheel Project. Involving stakeholders like hoteliers, guides, destination experts and the RARE Community, The Pinwheel Project will re-look at destinations through the lens of sustainability and community engagement.
Explaining the thought behind this project, Shoba Mohan, Founder, RARE India, said, “The Pinwheel Project is an all-encompassing initiative whose main aim is inclusion. Our hotels have been promoting their often remote destination for many years now; their design and concept tell a story of their commitment and value creation, of taking the tough route to re-define the destination and the region. The Pinwheel Project is an initiative to tell stories of hotels they built – how a small key hotel has helped the destination hold on to its character, build value for the communities and uphold cultures, preserve the heritage and protect the environment. It also highlights the travelers’ experiences and their role in shaping the destination’s destiny through their travel.”
Responsible and sustainable tourism is the foundation on which the entire RARE Community rests. One of the key differentiators of every RARE hotel is their commitment to the community and being conscious of the impact of every tourism and hospitality activity. Conservation of heritage and nature, no-motor activities, community engagement and positive impact on their livelihood, intangible cultural heritage highlights and transformations as well as sensitive land and resource use are some constants that serve as the common thread that connect all members of the Community.
Every hotel within the RARE Community adheres to at least 3 to 4 of the 10 responsible tourism touchstones of the Community. These touchstones include No Single Use Plastic, Safe Garbage Disposal, Water Conservation, Local Community Engagement, Sensitive Destination Discovery, Low Impact Tourism, Heritage Preservation, Nature & Biological Diversity Conservation, Energy Efficiency and Human Touch. The Pinwheel Project will showcase the responsible tourism practices of the RARE Community hotels and the destinations they are located in so as to inspire the travel trade community as well as travellers to plan their travel itineraries in a manner that they can also contribute to responsible tourism.
The Project will address the trade and media through training sessions and workshops, campaigns on social media and continue to build awareness with live chats, events and podcasts. The aim is to inspire and record every RARE Community hotelier’s journey, gauge the impact on the destination and urge travelers to explore differently and make earth-friendly, community focused choices.
As part of the Pinwheel Project, interactive zoom sessions are going to be held to highlight various countries, states and micro destinations through their culture, history, community, nature and adventure. Attendees of these sessions will hear stories, explore unknown trails, festivals, wildlife and adventures.
The month of January has been dedicated to Nepal wherein various country experts will showcase the adventure lovers’ paradise in a comprehensive manner, right from what one can do other than visiting Kathmandu and Pokhara to the culture, festivals and hidden travel gems of Nepal. From February onwards, the focus of the sessions will shift to various destinations in India where the RARE Community hotels are located.