Union Minister for Tourism Subodh Kant Sahay interacts with stakeholders

Tourist destinations of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts may get a boost with the Central assistance of Rs. 50 crore under a programme to develop mega destinations and circuits in the country.

Union Minister for Tourism Subodh Kant Sahay, who interacted with stakeholders here on Saturday, asked the Joint Secretary to the Department Anand Kumar to include the tourist destinations of the two districts under the project.

The Minister told presspersons that the Government would have to decide what destinations are to be developed and forward a proposal for inclusion of the circuit for development.

The details of the programme available on the website of the Ministry of Tourism, stated that the Ministry has taken a policy initiative to develop the tourist destinations / circuits of national importance in a holistic and integrated manner.

It said “The objective is to ensure that the infrastructure of these mega destinations / circuits is developed to the extent that it can cater to the future tourist inflows so that visitors get a satisfying and memorable experience. The Ministry has identified 29 mega projects for development.” The lone project listed from the State is that of the Hampi Circuit. The assistance given is 100 per cent but with ceiling being Rs. 50 crore. It is not clear whether the ceiling is fixed for the projects of a State put together or an individual circuit.

The Minister said there was a need to project Mangalore brand of tourism where local traditions are showcased for the visitors. People from other countries come to India to see India, he pointed out. Making the guest feel good was important, he added. He called for adopting a “business model” to ensure success of tourism projects.

Anguish

Earlier different stakeholders expressed their anguish over the apathy of successive Governments to tourism. Proprietor of a tour and travel agency Eulalia D'Souza said she had attended umpteen meetings in the last 23 years and regretted that several files relating to the recommendations made were gathering dust.

Pilikula Biological Park's Executive Director J.R. Lobo pointed out that road from Bangalore to Mangalore should be improved to tap tourism potential of the district. People avoided a visit here because of bad roads, he said. The Road should be such that people could come to the city from the State capital in four hours.

Coastal Development Authority Chairman Nagaraj Shetty urged the Minister to see how the State could get projects cleared as the Coastal Regulation Zone rules were coming in the way of many of them.

Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly N. Yogish Bhat sought assistance of Rs. 500 crore for tourism projects. Many resort owners demanded that tourism projects should be developed close to the sea waters and CRZ guidelines did not permit this. Upendra A. Hosbet of Dakshina Kannada Parisarasaktha Okkuta said the spirit behind the CRZ regulations – aimed at protecting the coast and interests of fishermen – should be understood. There was a vast scope for developing tourism facilities beyond 200m in certain categories of coast or landward side of fishery road, he said.

Partha, a sea swimming trainer, said this region had one of the few spots with warm sea waters and was ideal for water sports and sea swimming facilities.

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