Role of Media in Promoting Ecotourism: An Exploratory Study on Tourism in Kerala

Role of Media in Promoting Ecotourism: An Exploratory Study on Tourism in Kerala

The chapter is part of Media Management in Communicating Tourism: Edited Essays (ISBN: 9781648054341).

Keerthana.Ka, Sruthy.S.Vijayana and Dr. Juby Thomasb

Eco-tourism is a way of preserving and promoting the environment. Kerala is a state known for its richness in greenery and natural beauty, also a good destination for Eco-tourism. Eco-tourism is also known as green tourism is a form of tourism involved in the protection of the natural environment, preservation of cultural heritage and the promotion of good environmental practices. It takes into account regarding the needs of the environment, the local residents, business and visitors, where a lot of tourism companies provide environmental friendly packages and services that not give the visitor a good experience which in turn helps in the understanding of the various environmental aspects of that particular destination and mainly helping in the appreciation and growth of the environment and natural cultural heritage. Thus, in a way it can be denoted that ecotourism  can have an impact on the visitor who is made aware of the various environmental aspects, that paves way for individuals to reconnect with nature, to make any improvements for the environment if required, to support the individuals working in the field, and mostly to protect and help in the positive growth of the environment. Ecotourism had a significant effect on the economy because it created a lot of employment opportunities in Kerala’s service sector and it also helps in generating foreign revenue. Undoubtedly, media have a vital role to play to promote this noble initiative since it has a better way to conserve our biodiversity. Through a quantitative approach, the present study focuses to identify the public perception of the role media played and the grey areas that need to be addressed.

Key Words: Ecotourism, Environment, Role of Media, Sustainable Development, Tourism in Kerala

a – MA Student, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India
b – Assistant Professor, Kristu Jayanti College, Bangalore, India


Tourism plays a vital role in a country’s economy, as it provides many opportunities for business and employment. In the course of attracting tourists, a state’s natural vegetation and infrastructure are improved and maintained. Ecotourism is a responsible and quality form of tourism that involves visiting natural areas, understanding the needs of the residents in that area, and basically improving the quality of life. The role of Media in tourism contributes to informing the tourists across the globe about the various tourism aspects of a state or a country. The aim of this paper is to discuss the role of media in promoting ecotourism with regard to Kerala tourism.

Ecotourism, described as responsible travel to natural areas that protect the environment, sustain the wellbeing of local people, and include understanding and education, enabling travel with more than personal satisfaction in mind, helping the world and people to lead a more fulfilling life. Apart from visual appeal, the historical and environmental significance of unfamiliar lands and buildings is learned. Most of all through Eco touristic travels, an opportunity to interact with the locals, gives an insight of their requirements, social issues that are faced by them, and their desires, which in turn increases maximum local participation, promotion of local culture, and economy.

Kerala which is known for its richness in naturally available sources, consists many eco tourist places to visit, where the chance to not just indulge in nature, but the inhabitants, the local culture, food and much more. Places such as Kumbalangi, Gavi, Iduki, Thenmala, Kollam, Alappuzha, Kumarakam, Wayanad, Thommankuthu are known for specific natural attributes such as exotic animals like the Lion tailed Macaque, Fishing Hamlet, tribes, music, dance and much more.

The various modes of Media, such as print, electronic and online media, mostly enhances ecotourism in a positive way, where, for instance, an article in a newspaper, magazine or other periodicals, not only introduces the reader to discovering environmentally friendly places, but also speaks about the kind of climate, inhabitants, surroundings, food, clothing, culture and other aspects of nature and the livelihood of the locals that are practiced there. It curbs interest or curiosity in the mindset of the interested traveller, through the writings of the articles in newspapers, magazines, other journals, through visual representation through photographs, television segments, and social media platforms which is currently the most popular and also one of the easiest ways where with a few clicks, information of a place, its social, cultural, political, natural factors, travel, food and other accommodations are provided.

Also, in the current era, a lot of travel and tour agencies make use of media to market their company and the tour friendly packages offered by them, where television and online advertisements are the most common forms of marketing often used by travel agencies. Media therefore plays an important and responsible role in creating understanding of eco-recipients and their value for human well-being, and their role in promoting eco-tourism as an industry is enormous at the global level to learn about each other’s ethnic, social and political practices and differences.

Significance of the Study

The fact that today’s world is progressing in a vigorous manner is turning a blind eye to the natural elements around us. A lot can be learned from indulging in the natural environment by interacting with the local people, knowing their traditions and their plights, in a way certain knowledge is learned and exchanged, helping the people and the place for requirements and such. This study aims to specify the role of media in ecotourism, how the various means of media helps to convey the importance of each place for its beauty, culture, and other such aspects.

Eco tourism is an important aspect of tourism, where people in the modern world engrossed in technology, need to venture into the places that hold best for ecotourism, so as to study the importance of nature, by learning ways through which the natural environment can be restored or improved in places that have lost its natural environment or those on the verge of diminishing. And the media, a powerful tool that reaches the masses around globe, has enhanced the enhanced the spread of ecotourism through print and digital forms, where not just common people use it to know about eco-tourism destinations, but a lot of travel agencies and organizations use the media to convey details of the same and most of all the inhabitants of the remotest destinations are able to use the media for their needs as well.

Review of Literature

An article on Kerala model of development by Oommen M. A.  has pointed out the danger of overlooking the environmental sustainability in development initiatives in the context of Kerala state in India. The author refers, from a broader perspective, to the rising environmental problems in Kerala. This article explains that expanding choices is seen as a socially responsible act and it is done without endangering future generation. Also, essential; choices valued by people are created by expanding human capabilities and freedom and is crucial for the development process because human beings are not considered as mere beneficiaries. Rural Tourism Employment Generation: A Local Community Field Study in Kumbalangi, by Manoj P. K, conducts an empirical study of the local community’s response to rural tourism employment prospects. The high prospects of employment generation and economic development and the need for enhancing the tourism infrastructure, primarily through Governmental initiatives, is highlighted in this paper. This paper explains that some countries have exploited their tourism potential for economic development. In this context prospects of rural tourism in Kerala with a focus on employment given to the local people of Kumbalangi. “Role of Social Media in Ecotourism Development” by Indu et al, (2018) is a sincere effort to discuss the relationship between social media and ecotourism. It was found that digital media helps in the promotion of ecotourism products and services. In order to gain additional knowledge, tourists make use of online media, especially to review sites and blogs. This article showcases that the key attributes of ecotourism are well presented on provider’s commercial website. Although online promotion of ecotourism has positively affected the industry there are rooms for possibilities to promote it online in an efficient and effective way

Objectives of the Study

  • To analyze the role of media in promoting ecotourism in the state of Kerala
  • To identify the influence of media on tourists in their selection of places to visit
  • To explore the ways in which travel and tour companies use media to promote ecotourism
  • To suggest eco-friendly strategies for sustainable tourism development in Kerala


With the help of qualitative approach, primary data were collected, through Survey method and the tool used is questionnaire. There are several different types of surveys that are available to quantitative researchers, for example, mail, telephone, online, or face-to-face.

Researchers made use of online and face to face survey.  In order to have a general understanding about the study a secondary data collection method is employed by analysing various news reports, research articles and books.

Findings and analysis

This survey based study “Role of Media in Promoting Ecotourism: An Exploratory Study on Tourism in Kerala”, estimated that 81% of the respodents were aware of the concept ecotourism as another form of Tourism, 85.70% says that ecotourism paves way for more employment opportunities, 55.40% consider it as means to protect the environment. 98.20% accept that the state of Kerala is a perfect georgraphically suited arena for ecotourism and 82.50% have agreed that ecotourism helps in the preseveration of cultural heritage and 82.10% strongly feel that ecotourism improves the standard of living of the local people.

62.50% of the respondents are involded in activities of environmnet protection such as planmting trees or shrubs in their region and 84.20% of them have agreed that ecotourism helps in the development of the local community. Only 39.3% of the respondents feel that more assistance from the tourism department is required for the promotion of ecotourism, 86%  of the respondents recieves information from Social media and only 10.5%  of the respondents received information through television and  42.9% strongly believe that the places become more popular after it is projected in any media platforms and also tourists are influenced more by the media’s projection of a place for touring purposes.


The present study identified that ecotourism serving as beneficial factor which helps in the improvement of standard of living the local inhabitants where their needs and requirements are met, cultural heritage is preserved and through the usage of media, where most prefer social media as a conventional form in accessing the information of travel destinations and the importance of that particular place is portrayed effectively through social media platforms and television. Also, most prefer the media, especially social media platforms, that curbs curiosity in the mindset of the individual through presentation of the destination of  photos, videos, reviews from others and personal experience stories and such, when attempting to explore a particular desired destination. The ultimate purpose of ecotourism is to save the environment around and preserve the naturalresource and forest life. Whether it is about aenvironmental camp or organizing trekking trips towards the green and inaccessibleregions, every one must keep in mind not to create anything or disturbance in the life cycle of nature. And often media doesn’t highlight such aspects of ecotorism. Hence the present study suggest a responsible use of media as a tool to empower and ecourage ecotourism. It must cater beyond  mere advertising and promotion of places. 


Bindu, Indu, Ranbir Singh (2018). Role of Social Media in Ecotourism Development. International Journal of Research in Social Sciences. 134-141.

Brundtland, G. H. (1987). The Report of the Brundtland Commission: Our Common Future. World Commission on Environment and Development, Oxford University Press.

Manoj, P. K. (2015). Employment Generation from Rural Tourism: a Field Study of the Local Community at Kumbalang in Kerala. International Journal of Applied Services Marketing Perspectives, 4(4), 1880-1888.

Oommen, M. A. (2008). Reforms and the Kerala model. Economic and Political Weekly, 22-25.

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