Economic slowdown and the Cauvery issue may be the factors
The New Year revelry and the near sell-out of all accommodations in Mysore during the week may paint a picture of a thriving tourism industry. But the sector has taken a hit in 2012 with the number of visitors to the city declining for the first time in recent years.
As against 3.5 million tourists who visited the city between January and December 2011, only 3.2 million visited during the same period in 2012. This is in contrast to the continual growth registered by Mysore for the last five to six years, when the city was listed among the top five tourist destinations in the country in the domestic circuit.
A comparison of the statistics pertaining to tourists coming to Mysore during the period January to February since 2010 indicates that 2012 was a setback of sorts. While 31,48,176 tourists visited the city in 2010, the numbers swelled to 35,08,278 in 2011.
But this has not been sustained in the current year, and the figures have come down to 31,96, 931 as on December 26, 2012.
The statistics are based on the number of entry tickets sold at the Mysore Palace. This is reckoned to be a reliable barometer in assessing tourist flow to the city.
There is a slowdown even if the financial year period from April 1 to March 31 were to be the yardstick in assessing tourist flow. While Mysore received 27,79,536 tourists till December 31 in 2011–12 , the figures for the corresponding period during 2012–13 hovers around 24,56,355.
K.S. Nagapati, Director, Mahajana Tourism Development Institute, told The Hindu that it may be difficult to attribute any one reason for the negative growth. Economic slowdown and the Cauvery issue that rocked the region could have been contributory factors.
Statistics indicate that in October, when tourism tends to gain momentum, there was a lull in Mysore. As against the 3,65,089 tourists who visited the city during 2011, the number fell to 2,53,684 in 2012. The number of visitors to Mysore in December 2011 was 4,50,737 while it was 2,68,478 till December 26.
A leading tour operator in the city faulted authorities for not doing enough to promote Mysore and underlined the imperatives of reducing vehicle entry tax for tourist vehicles coming into Karnataka.
“The bulk of tourists are from the neighbouring States of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Hence, the government should consider reducing the vehicle entry tax, which is about Rs. 16,500 for a 50-seat vehicle, which is discouraging,” he said.
But, the silver lining is that the number of tourists who visited Mysore in 2012 crossed the three- million mark for the third consecutive year.
Another glaring issue that plagues Mysore tourism is its complete reliance on domestic tourists to fuel the growth to the exclusion of international tourists. Of the 3.19 million tourists who visited Mysore in 2012, foreign tourists comprised only 74,380, and in 2011 out of 3.5 million tourists, only 85,281 international tourists visited the city.
Suggesting a slew of measures to improve the international tourist flow to the city, stakeholders including members of the Mysore Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Hotel Owners Association, have called for direct train connectivity between Mysore, Hampi and Goa apart from introduction of direct flights linking Mysore with Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Goa.
Statistics indicate that in October, when tourism tends to gain momentum, there was a lull ‘Authorities have not done enough to promote Mysore as tourist destination’
Statistics indicate that in October, when tourism tends to gain momentum, there was a lull
‘Authorities have not done enough to promote Mysore as tourist destination’