Published: 09th November 2020
Why Igloopupa will bring out the responsible traveler in you
Igloopupa was set up with the noble vision of promoting and encouraging sustainable tourism practices by working closely with local communities across the country
The people who set up Igloopupa want the world to know that we are running out of time. This online travel portal curates and grades the best vacation rentals in India based on their sustainable practices. The idea behind it is summed up best in co-founder Vijith Sivadasan’s words: “As this world is heading towards the apocalypse of climate change, human civilisation is divided into two extremes — those who are willing to make radical changes in their lifestyle and those who are reluctant or unaware of this need. We intend to strike a balance between them and encourage a positive impact."
Igloopupa has a specialised Sustainability Index Calculation Model (SIM) that qualifies and grades these vacation rentals. This range of home stays, farm stays, tented stays, camp sites, boutique hotels and tree houses can be found across the country. Around 150 properties have been identified and they work closely with around 17 such businesses.
TO THE ROOTS: The programme has a special focus on Wayanad
Having run her own homestay for several years, Co-founder Aparna Vinod is certain about what changes the accommodation industry urgently needs. “I have experience in accommodation and this is the area that I’m trying to repair. I personally focus on Wayanad because I want to set the standards of responsible travel there as I am from there myself and know what the people need. The idea is to establish it as a destination for responsible travellers.”
Aparna set the ball rolling on June 1, 2018, when her idea got chosen at IIM Bengaluru among 100 women’s start-up ideas. She went on to create a community of hosts who follow eco-friendly practices. With Vijith’s inputs, they decided to expand it into a WhatsApp group with a growing number of members who focused on the same ideas in the properties they managed.
VILLAGE VAULT: They are working on setting up an Igloopupa Tourism Village
She says, “Impact comes only when the common man is able to act. Otherwise, they are just words printed on paper. To really see change, we must change from within ourselves. The kind of waste we generated when I was running a 7-room business was an eye-opener. Through our collective experience with businesses, we learnt the importance of how much we can control it by just working with the local communities.”
By the new year, they are working on setting up a model Igloopupa Tourism Village in a village named Chekadi in Wayanad. Here, they will only offer tented accommodation to avoid a construction process. The property will only employ the locals and generate an income for them. In this area of over 300 acres of paddy fields, the farmers and tribal communities continue to practise organic farming using traditional methods. And in the tourism village, they will continue to explore these simple concepts and grow closer to nature.