Draft tourism policy has ambitious plans for development of the sector
Bangalore: The State Government has drawn up an ambitious plan to give a complete facelift to Nandi Hills near Bangalore, Kemmanagundi in Chikmagalur district and Jog Falls in Shimoga district, apart from developing several other tourist destinations.
Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who reviewed the functioning of several key departments of the Government on Tuesday, told presspersons that the draft of the new tourism policy was ready and was expected to be approved by the Cabinet at its meeting on Thursday. The focus of the policy is on the development of several new destinations apart from improving facilities at the existing tourism centres.
The previous tourism policy expired in May, and the State roped in the services of several experts to prepare the new policy. The aim is to bring Karnataka on a par with Kerala and Goa on the tourism front. Towards this end, Rs. 150 crore will be spent this year on various tourism-related facilities.
The Government also plans to set up a tourism and hotel management training institute on a 25-acre plot at a cost of Rs. 11 crore. A team of senior officials are looking at various locations to set up the institute. The tourism sector has an employment potential of over 1.5 lakh jobs, according to an estimate. Preference will be given to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe youth in admissions to the training institute.
Mr. Yediyurappa said the Golden Chariot, a special train for tourists on the lines of the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, was getting ready. Upholstery work for the luxury coaches was in progress. The train would be flagged off on November 1 to coincide with the Suvarna Karnataka celebrations. The train would run from Bangalore to Goa, covering all the important tourism destinations in the State.
Nandi Hills, Kemmanagundi and Brindavan Gardens at K.R. Sagar, which are under the control of various departments such as Water Resources and Horticulture, will now be brought under the direct control of the Tourism Department The S.M. Krishna government, in 2002, suggested a proposal to bring all tourism areas under the control of the Tourism Department, but it has not been implemented.
At Kudachadri in Uttara Kannada, the Government plans to invite a joint venture partner to build a hotel. The Tourism Department will focus on the development of other facilities. “I am confident that Kudachadri will become be a major tourist destination in the State,” Mr. Yediyurappa said.
The Government will also develop four tourism circuits, with the first circuit covering all the important destinations in the Bangalore-Mysore region, the second encompassing Hampi and adjoining destinations, the third comprising the Mangalore-Udupi region and the fourth embracing the Belur-Halebid-Madikeri sector. A tourist will be able to cover any region in two days for which a reasonable package will be provided by the department.