TravelBiz Monitor

In Conversation

Wednesday, 16 January, 2019, 17 : 32 PM [IST]
‘Concept of responsible tourism comes naturally to Evolve Back Resorts’

House of Ramapuram, a family pioneered sustainable and responsible luxury hospitality in the country, had rebranded their hospitality venture, Orange County into Evolve Back a year ago with an aspiration to expand its footprint beyond the borders of Karnataka to other states as well as overseas. TravelBiz Monitor spoke to Jose Ramapuram, Director - Marketing, Evolve Back Luxury Resorts to understand the journey since the rebranding and about their future ventures.

Q It’s more than a year since your properties adopted a new branding from Orange County to Evolve Back? How has been the journey since the rebranding and how has it been received by your partners in the trade and your loyal guests?
While initially there was some resistance to the change, especially from our loyal guests, we were, over time, able to convince them of the reasons behind our decision. The process was made simpler as we clearly articulated our reasons on our website and were also successful in effectively communicating the same to all stakeholders. The name Evolve Back has now been firmly established in their minds and is gaining significant traction both online and offline.

Q You have been one of the pioneers in sustainable and responsible luxury hospitality in the Indian tourism sector? How you are setting new benchmarks and what are the innovative concepts that you are coming up within your properties?
While time and technology have made travel easy, the planet that is home to us humans has had to pay a price for all this human movement. Tourism is now being recognised as a major contributor to planetary defilement. The awareness of environmental protection is rising within people and responsible tourism is gaining momentum in the hospitality sector.

The concept of responsible tourism comes naturally to Evolve Back Resorts. It is, after all, an extension of the vision and philosophy of the House of Ramapuram.

Evolve Back’s philosophy of giving back to the society is carried on in all our properties. Especially, in our youngest property in Hampi - the Kamalapura Palace, where we have adopted a local school. We have also initiated a Hippocampus Training Program for the teachers of the school as an attempt to engage students better. We have additionally adopted two of the historical monuments in Hampi.

We have approx, 45% local staff onboard to generate employment amongst the indigenous across all resorts. We ensure using treated water from STP (Sewage Treatment Plant) for landscaping and provide RO water in every suite to avoid contamination of the environment by 60,000 bottles per year.

Q How is your newest venture, Kamalapura Palace in Hampi shaping up? How you could create a reason for hi-end customers to visit the heritage destination?
Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace, Hampi 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 in studying 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. It took approximately 2 years to complete the palatial property in Hampi. The resort has a fort like entrance which is inspired by the Anegundi Fort, the principal fort in the area.

At the Evolve Back Kamalapura Palace Hampi, we take our guests through a transformational journey with world-class luxury into the rich culture and history of the Vijayanagara Empire.

Q Could you briefly share your new project in Wayanad – Stone Lodges? What is tourism and hospitality aspect that you are planning to bring into an otherwise real estate project?
Considerind the changes in lifestyle associated with today’s work culture, a second home amidst nature and far away from the city is gaining in popularity. Today, with internet connectivity making ‘work from anywhere’ possible, many in senior management positions are considering taking advantage of this development to plan both early retirement and a second life close to nature.

Stone Lodges is a luxurious gated community spread across 13-acres of forested hillside, where each lodge intertwines harmoniously with the mountains and blends seamlessly into the natural landscape. In Wayanad one has the luxury of having a UNESCO world heritage site called the Eddakal Caves, wildlife sanctuaries, trekking peaks and other beautiful sightings right at one’s doorstep, making it the perfect place for a second home

Stone Lodges is an ‘only-by-invite’ project which is targeted mostly at people who have visited our resorts at Coorg, Kabini and Hampi. Besides them, we are also targeting select senior officials from the corporate world, who would like to have a place amidst nature and unwind with their family.

Q What are the tourism prospects you see for India as a tourist destination in 2019 and ahead?
Today’s tourist is driven by a quest for new experiences. They are looking to enrich their lives and broaden the horizons through meaningful travel. At the same time, they do not wish to adversely impact the destination with their presence. This is the future of tourism and any organisation that fails to meet these expectations will not be successful.