District administration launches website on things to do in the region
In its efforts to promote Mysore as a tourist destination, the district administration launched a new website — www.destinationmysore.com — on Wednesday.
If the efforts bear fruit, Mysore will be among the top 10 tourist destinations for all seasonal holidays, and the authorities plan to promote the region throughout the year.
The objective of the website is to provide comprehensive information regarding tourist places in and around Mysore.
There are plans to hold cultural activities that will shore up the ambience to attract tourists and draw them to participate in it.
The website was launched by Revenue Minister V. Srinivas Prasad, who is also the district in-charge Minister. A.H. Vishwanath, MP, Vasu, MLA, and C. Shikha, Deputy Commissioner, were present.
The website will provide comprehensive information on tourist hotspots with map-based solutions, while it also intends to provide quick replies to visitors making queries.
There is also a section called ‘things to do in Mysore’, which will evolve in the days ahead. The calendar of all prime festivals and celebrations in the city will also be updated.
The homepage, at present, has the image of Lalitha Mahal Palace and St. Philomena’s Church, but this will change periodically.
A list of major events and cultural programmes will be listed in the website, which will be available in English and Kannada. The website will be compatible on all devices and will have social media links to share.
3.5 million tourists
It is pertinent to note that Mysore attracts nearly 3.5 million tourists every year, and the tourism sector has witnessed a rapid growth in the last decade.
While the number of tourists visiting the city used to hover around 1.5 million about 10 years ago, the growth period commenced from 2003-04.
The tourist footfall crossed the two-million mark in 2005-06, and reached the three million mark in 2010.
The city clocked the 3.5 million mark in 2011, which has been the best year as far as the number of tourists visiting the city is concerned. But, there has been a slight dip since then though the figures are above three million.
One of the reasons for Mysore’s emergence as a favourite destination for tourists is the easy access to places of interest, all of which can be covered within a day.
The must-visit on a tourist’s itinerary includes the palace, Chamundi Hills, zoo, KRS and the Brindavan Gardens, apart from Srirangapatna and Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.
But in recent years, conventional tourists on a guided tour are being supplanted by weekend travellers from Bangalore and other cities, who use Mysore as the base camp to visit or explore Kodagu, Belur-Halebid-Shravanabelagola, Bandipur-Nagarhole, the Tibetan settlement at Bylakuppe and Somnathpur, among others.
The growth in tourism has also coincided with the emergence of Mysore as a centre for Yoga and the city plays host to a significant number of international tourists.
K.S. Nagapathi, director, Mahajana Tourism Development Institute, pointed out that the city’s economy hinges to a large extent on tourism sector as it generates nearly 75,000 to 1,00,000 jobs — both direct and indirect employment.
For this to sustain, tourism promotion throughout the year was necessary.
While website and other promotional activities are a must, it has to be backed by policy initiatives such as abolition of vehicle entry taxes and reduction in VAT or luxury tax so that the tourists’ stay becomes inexpensive and they can spend more to benefit the local economy.