Kar­nataka show­cases its ‘wild’ side

Gau­rav Gupta, Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Biotech­nol­ogy and Science & Tech­nol­ogy and Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Kar­nataka, talks about ini­tia­tives taken to pro­mote tourism in the state.

TravTalk - India - - STATES - KANCHAN NATH

QHow is the new Kar­nataka Tourism Pol­icy 2015-20 dif­fer­ent from the 2009-14 pol­icy?

Kar­nataka’s Depart­ment of Tourism has al­ways been en­deav­our­ing to make Kar­nataka among the best and must-visit tourist des­ti­na­tions in In­dia. Kar­nataka Tourism is ac­tively im­ple­ment­ing poli­cies, in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives and ca­pac­ity build­ing strate­gies to achieve this ob­jec­tive. It is with this view that Kar­nataka Tourism has re­worked its Tourism Pol­icy 2009-14 to give a new shape to the in­dus­try. The pol­icy fo­cuses on cus­tomer cen­tric­ity, brand­ing, source mar­ket­ing, ca­pac­ity build­ing and train­ing, pol­icy de­vel­op­ment, fos­ter­ing PPP ven­tures, etc. Fur­ther, as an ex­ten­sion of the Tourism Pol­icy 2009-14, Kar­nataka Tourism for­mu­lated the Tourism Pol­icy 2015-2020. The key dif­fer­ences be­tween the two ver­sions are given be­low: Tourism pol­icy of 2009-14 was tourist-fo­cused, but the tourism pol­icy 20152020 is in­vest­ment cen­tric and more fo­cus is on in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment by con­sid­er­ing all the stake­hold­ers as­so­ci­ated with Kar­nataka Tourism Much fo­cus was given to adopt a col­lab­o­ra­tive re­gional de­vel­op­ment ap­proach. More pri­vate in­vest­ments are en­cour­aged by pro­vid­ing var­i­ous sub­si­dies and con­ces­sions. The pol­icy also aims at stream­lin­ing pro­cesses by es­tab­lish­ing tourism in­fra­struc­ture to carry out has­sle-free tourism ser­vices. As a part of re­spon­si­ble tourism, more fo­cus has been given to­wards cor­po­rate in­vest­ments on tourism projects, par­tic­u­larly for ru­ral tourism de­vel­op­ment Much fo­cus has been put on sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment of tourist sites and pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able growth In­tro­duc­tion of small air­craft and air­lines to make air ser­vice more peo­ple friendly.

QKar­nataka State Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (KSTDC) has upped its game with some new col­lab­o­ra­tions. Please elab­o­rate.

The Depart­ment of Tourism and Kar­nataka State Tourism De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion have been of­fer­ing cus­tomised lo­cal sight­see­ing trips in and around Ben­galuru to pop­u­lar pre-de­fined des­ti­na­tions. KSTDC, for the first time, has taken the ini­tia­tive to run city tours on pi­lot ba­sis, by in­tro­duc­ing ‘Ben­galuru De­tours’ at af­ford­able rates, in as­so­ci­a­tion with OLA cabs. The avail­able choice of ve­hi­cles through OLA cabs ranges from nor­mal cars and sedans to SUVs and MUVs. There has been fairly pos­i­tive re­sponse from the gen­eral pub­lic for ‘Ben­galuru De­tours’.

QWhat are the main mar­ket­ing ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by Kar­nataka Tourism to in­crease tourist foot­falls in the cur­rent year?

The Depart­ment of Tourism has adopted a mul­ti­pronged strat­egy to pro­mote Kar­nataka. This in­cludes or­gan­is­ing trade fairs, dis­trict tourism fes­ti­vals, lake fes­ti­vals, Ben­galuru In­ter­na­tional Arts Fes­ti­val, etc. Kar­nataka Tourism has launched co­brand­ing ini­tia­tives with RCB and Ben­galuru Foot­ball Club to pro­mote Kar­nataka tourism. This is apart from the pro­mo­tional ini­tia­tives un­der­taken by DoT in in­ter­na­tional travel events such as WTM, ITB Ber­lin, etc. Kar­nataka Tourism has de­clared 2017 as the ‘Year of

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.

QTell 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.

QKindly 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.

Gau­rav Gupta Prin­ci­pal Sec­re­tary, Depart­ment of In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy, Biotech­nol­ogy and Science & Tech­nol­ogy and Tourism, Gov­ern­ment of Kar­nataka

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