Assisted by the Indian Ministry of Tourism and UNDP, the Endogenous Spices Tourism Project in Kurangani is aimed at strengthening the indigenous collective identities of mountain communities and at recognizing the link between the principles of sustainable development and indigenous knowledge. A prime purpose is to it focus on developing various strategies specific to the ecosystem in the region, and to protect forest biodiversity.
The area of Western Ghats is known for growing spices and other plants of importance for Indian and international cuisines, most importantly coffee, tea and cardamom. The area is also rich in wildlife and natural beauty. In order to give tourists a chance to experience the area, trekking trail16 has been established. Accommodation is provided by local inhabitants as homestays, and local guides offer their services to the tourists. Further interpretative facilities, such as a “spice center”, are underway. The entrepreneurial part of the project is supported by GREEN, a small scale community development program.
The area has attempted to do its homework well, before launching into tourism. Thus the website informs: “GREEN is keen to prevent and mitigate the negative impacts of key threats to mountain biodiversity in the Kurangani region as the project team carried out a biological survey in the Kurangani region from lower Station to the Top Station to ascertain the conceptual basis of the Ecosystem Approach in relation to the concept of sustainable forest management. The outcome of the Biological Survey is the “Ecosystem Profile of Kurangani” which recommends ecosystem approach to the management of forests in the Kurangani region. Conservation International has declared the Western Ghats as one of the 25 Global Biodiversity Hotspots.”