Major focus is on improving basic facilities in tourist destinations in Karnataka, says Tourism Minister H. K. Patil

After introduction of this scheme, we have had a four-to-five-fold increase in the number of tourists to some destinations and almost a 10-fold increase in some more, says minister

Published - June 18, 2024 11:53 am IST - Bengaluru

Minister of Tourism H.K. Patil

Minister of Tourism H.K. Patil | Photo Credit: Jahnavi T.R.

It has been over a year now since H. K. Patil took charge as the Tourism Minister of Karnataka. In this time, he has finished two tours of the State identifying different opportunities and weaknesses for the development of tourism. From the development of tourist destinations in north Karnataka, which have not made it to the limelight so far, to using technology for marketing, he shared his plans for the future of tourism in Karnataka, in an interview with The Hindu.  

Excerpts:

After touring Karnataka, which destinations have you picked for development? 

Bidar has many monuments from the Deccan Sultanate period, which can be developed. The district also has the Karez underground water system, which we are trying to conserve. We have also taken up development of Nagavi, Karnataka’s first university in Kalaburagi. The government has decided to restore hundreds of temples in Aihole, and released a grant of ₹3 crore for the same. We have given some of these temples to Dharmasthala Trust for restoration.  

What are your plans for development of coastal tourism? 

We have a beautiful coastline of 320 kilometres from Kasargod border to Karwar border. With the relaxation of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, we plan to develop beaches. We have called tenders for the development of adventure sports, hotels and resorts near beaches.

On the same lines, we are trying to encourage adventure sports in forests. 

What is the effect of Shakti scheme on tourism in Karnataka? 

After the introduction of Shakti scheme, we have had a four-to-five-fold increase in the number of tourists to some destinations, and almost a 10-fold increase in some others. Renuka Yellamma temple in Savadatti attracts over 1.25 crore people every year. The number has gone up further now. With this influx, we are facing a shortage of basic amenities in all these destinations. 

Karnataka lags behind when it comes to marketing and promotion of tourism. How do you plan to improve this? 

I agree that we have not been smart in marketing our destinations. But how to promote them without basic facilities? Our major focus is on improving these facilities, especially the areas which are frequented by common people rather than the posh crowd. We are 3D scanning most of our tourist destinations to put them up online with geo tags. Tourists can sit at home and plan their trip in a more efficient manner with these 3D models. We will also be hosting a South India Tourist Destination Exhibition for marketing and promotion. 

How do you plan to divert tourists from popular places like Mysuru, Kodagu and Udupi-Mangaluru? 

North Karnataka is very rich in heritage. We are preparing many sites there in anticipation of proposing them for World Heritage Site tag so that they attract more tourists. We are introducing tourism circuits like Bidar – Bahamani – Rashtrakuta – Chalukya circuit, and Bengaluru – Hubballi – Savadatti circuit, which can promote destinations in multiple places.  

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