`Karnataka is already among the most sought after States by travellers'
MYSORE: Brand Mysore and Karnataka will unfold before an influential gathering comprising key stakeholders in the tourism sector, both from India and abroad, during the two-day Karnataka Tourism Expo 2006 commencing here on Monday.
For many attending the conference, this is their first visit to the city, and a cursory interaction with a few players indicated that their perceived image of Mysore, as a picture perfect of an oriental romance, has been reinforced.
The question being raised by a few members from the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), which is one of the organisers, is that if Rajasthan can sell its desert and Kerala its backwaters, there is no reason why Karnataka cannot market itself as a unique brand that is rich in history and has an impressive geography testified by its wildlife in its natural splendour.
As Amita Sarkar, Additional Director, FICCI, New Delhi, said: "Karnataka is already among the most sought after States by the domestic and international travellers, thanks to its rise as a powerhouse in the field of IT and BT. But every business traveller is a potential tourist and would like to visit places of interest around Bangalore, and so there is tremendous scope for the State Government and the private sector to join hands to tap the potential."
The conference is reckoned to be important and could be a turning point in the annals of tourism in Karnataka as the industry has witnessed a boom post-2001 and this is the time to build on it.
Around 350 delegates from the tourism industry, including important foreign tour operators, will be attending the conference. The expo is expected to showcase the potential of Karnataka, spot new opportunities and identify areas of development in the tourism sector. The conference will be held at Yashaswi Convention Centre on the Mysore-Hunsur Road and commence at 10 a.m.
Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy will inaugurate the conference. He will also inaugurate the Karnataka Tourism Exhibition following which the sessions on tourism promotion will commence. The conference is significant as Karnataka is emerging as a prime tourist destination among both domestic and international tourists and is among top five States in attracting tourists. The tourism sector is also a priority area as it is the third largest foreign exchange earner with one of the highest employment-investment ratio. For every additional investment of Rs. 1 million, it has the potential to generate 47 jobs and every direct job creates additional 11 indirect jobs.
Studies show that Karnataka's share of international arrivals coming into India has increased from 4.03 per cent in 1991 to 15.7 per cent in 2004 and this is increasing.