Tourism Minister B.S. Anand Singh on Thursday said that the Tourism Department was considering privatisation of hotels being run by Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) to make them tourist-friendly and to improve the quality of service being provided there.

He was speaking to presspersons here after releasing a book providing information on tourism destinations in Uttara Kannada district.

Mr. Anand Singh said that he would convene a meeting of all the officials in charge of these hotels after October 10 to discuss the privatisation proposal.

“By October 10, we will study the service standards of all the KSTDC hotels to know which of them could be left out of the privatisation proposal,” he said.

The Minister, who had visited some of the KSTDC hotels recently, expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which they were being managed and the quality of service being offered to guests. “I must say that I am not at all happy over their functioning. They have got all the resources and potential to serve the tourists better. But barring the hotel at Srirangapatna, I did not see any other hotel being run properly,” he said. The KSTDC had 56 hotels, of which 31 had been leased out to private operators while the remaining were being run by the corporation itself, Mr. Anand Singh pointed out. This was in addition to the 16 hotels being run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts. However, the Minister expressed satisfaction over the functioning and the quality of service being provided at hotels being run by Jungle Lodges and Resorts and clarified that status quo would be maintained with respect to these hotels.

The department was looking at a privatisation model that prescribes revenue sharing between the KSTDC and private operators in the ratio of 40:60, he said. Referring to the hotels that had been leased out to private operators, Mr. Anand Singh said that most of them had been leased out at throwaway rates as the response to the tenders called for had not been good. “I will now hold consultations with officials to find out if we can cancel these lease agreements to privatise these hotels,” he said.

To a query on the status of the long-pending proposal to introduce heli-tourism in the State, he said that the scheme was awaiting clearance from the Union government. He, however, said that the State was not giving much importance to the scheme as it was not sure whether tourists would find it affordable.

Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri was present.

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