Friday, February 23, 2007

Business spaces in Spice Tourism

Any bazaar must have an array of enterprises that supplement each other. In the town of Kumily, between the spice shops are small restaurants. Some sell Kerala food. Others sell Gujarati and Marwari food. A few eat at the Kerala thali places. Others enjoy being at the Jungle café, that overlooks the forest. Food for buyers and vendors, textiles for the locals, the drug stores, the internet cafes that are tourist necessities and Convenience stores that must sell camera rolls, digital camera transfers and CD writing facilities for recording with ease the traveller experiences.

In the main street, business is good for the retailers for almost eight months in a year. However, the land price here is Rs.6 lakhs/cent. So, a shop can cost upto Rs.6 lakhs to Rs.8 lakhs. This main area is known as Kumily town. A short distance away is Thekkady which has shops that also sell spices. This area is less expensive in terms of land prices. Here, a trader can buy one cent for Rs.4 lakhs. With the establishing of five-star hotels such as Taj Retreat and Spice Village, the shops here sell both spices and crafts at a price higher than on the ‘Kumily town’ bazaar street.

When one looks at the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, it is the organic nature of the plan, the ingenuity of the vendors in their marketing strategies and their creativity of displays that lend vibrancy to the spatial experience. In Kumily, it would be good to have a street that is less wide, one that is for pedestrians only, shops that have transition spaces i.e. there is a open space, a semi-enclosed verandah and perhaps an enclosed space within for storage, or those goods that need to be scrutinised carefully or for making a deal with the wholesaler or retail that goes beyond the ordinary.

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