Focus on wildlife and ecotourism
the Wild’. The objective is not to restrict tourism to wildlife alone, but also to promote the wild side of Karnataka with its adventure activities. The state has been focusing more on adventure tourism such as aero sports, skydiving in Mysuru, motorcycle tourism in Hampi, scuba festival at Nethrani Island, surfing festival at Mangaluru, etc. For the promotion of adventure tourism, DoT has joined hands with Department of Sports & Youth Affairs and General Thimmayya National Academy of Adventure Karnataka for promoting rock climbing, trekking, mountaineering, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, parasailing and paragliding. In addition, DoT has also rolled out social media campaigns to promote Karnataka Tourism.
Government of Karnataka has established the Karnataka Ecotourism Development Board to create awareness about wildlife and promote eco-tourism. Along with the Ecotourism Board and Jungle Lodges and Resorts, eco-tourism zones are being identified with a chain of nature camps and ecotrails to provide the best experience of the wild.
Q Tell us about the growth in tourist footfalls to the state. What are your tourism targets for 2018?
We have aggressive targets for 2018. As per the 2015 data released by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Karnataka stands at the ninth position in terms of foreign footfalls and fourth in terms of domestic footfalls among other states in India. We are aiming at being among the top three in domestic footfalls and the top five in foreign footfalls by 2018.
Q Kindly throw light on your recent initiatives and future plans to augment the tourist infrastructure in the state.
Karnataka Tourism has embarked on destination development across 20 destinations in the state. Government of Karnataka, in its 2017-18 budget, has allocated `385 crore, which covers integrated development of heritage tourism infrastructure in the destinations, development of roads connecting to World Heritage sites and other important destinations.