Karnataka Budget | ₹500-crore push for the battered tourism sector

A traveller enjoying monsoon at Nandi Hills near Bangalore. Photo for representational purpose.   | Photo Credit: K. Murali Kumar

With tourism being one of the hardest hit sectors during the pandemic and lockdown, seeing a revival of sorts only recently, the Budget has announced ₹500-crore worth programmes for tourism development.

To tap into the tourism potential around the State capital, the government has announced that tourism spots surrounding Bengaluru will be identified and developed as weekend tourism circuits by improving infrastructure through the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC).

Nandi Hills in Chickballapur district and Kemmangundi in Chikkamagaluru district, which used to be managed by the Horticulture Department, have been handed over to the KSTDC and Jungle Lodges and Resorts, respectively, to develop them into “international eco-tourism spots”.

Beach development

The 320-km-long coastline of the State, for long a pitch the Tourism Department has used to draw parallels with the popular beach destinations in neighbouring Goa and Kerala, has found mention, with the government announcing development plans for Trasi, Maravanthe, Ottinene, and other beaches in Udupi district at ₹10 crore, and another ₹10 crore for the development of Someshwara beach at Byndoor in Udupi district.

“To encourage tourism in Uttara Kannada district, action is being taken to develop a civil enclave near the naval air base in Ankola. Waterways will be developed between Mangaluru and Panaji to promote tourism and for affordable passenger and freight transportation,” said Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, adding that a proposal had also been submitted to the Centre to develop waterways in the Kali, the Netravati, the Gurupura, from Hangarkatta in Udupi to Manipal, from Almatti dam in Bagalkot district to Bagalkot town.

Other announcements include an integrated theme park downstream of the Kabini reservoir in Mysuru district, development of the site of neolithic age to iron age at Kudatini ash mound located between BTPS and Toranagal, and an eco-tourism park on 1,000 acres in Tadadi on public-private partnership model.

But the announcements have done little to pacify the sector, which was left disappointed after the Union Budget too. M. Ravi, joint secretary of the Karnataka Tourism Society, said irrespective of the amount allocated, visible improvements should begin with the basics — toilets, good roads, inter-State taxes, and marketing to attract more tourists to the State.

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Printable version | Apr 15, 2021 1:29:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-budget-500-crore-push-for-the-battered-tourism-sector/article34023718.ece

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