KARNATAKA

State now targets tourists from South America

Showcasing State: A view of the temples on the Hemakuta Hills in Hampi. Following the fall in tourist arrivals from the United States and the European Union, the State Government is trying to woo tourists from other countries.

Showcasing State: A view of the temples on the Hemakuta Hills in Hampi. Following the fall in tourist arrivals from the United States and the European Union, the State Government is trying to woo tourists from other countries.  

Sharath S. Srivatsa

Government is banking on new concepts to attract them



Heli-tourism, cruise tourism are being promoted

‘South American tourists interested in visiting India’



BANGALORE: Hit hard by the global economic slowdown, Karnataka is now trying to court tourists from non-traditional countries to boost its tourism industry. After wooing traditional travellers to the State from the U.S. and the European Union, which have now been affected badly by the slowdown, the State’s Tourism Department is looking at South American countries including Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru.

Karnataka is banking on new concepts including the heli-tourism and cruise-tourism to attract foreign tourists. “India Tourism offices in the U.S. are getting enquiries from South American tourists, who are interested to visit India. We are also targeting new countries to attract tourists,” Tourism Director K. Vishwanatha Reddy told The Hindu.

Attempts by tourism officials come at a time when the tourist arrivals to the State has fallen drastically during the first seven months of 2008 when compared to the corresponding period in 2007. While over 2.41 lakh foreign tourists visited Karnataka between January and July 2007, the State received just over 73,500 tourists between January and July 2008. Overall, the tourist inflow has come down from 2.1 crore in the first seven months of 2007 to about 64 lakh during the same period in 2008.

Mr. Reddy said: “The department will organise familiarisation tours in an effort to showcase the tourism potential of Karnataka to the tourists from the South American countries.” Besides, he said that the festivals and celebrations, including Dasara, Hampi, Kittur and Kadamba utsavs were being promoted in a big way to showcase the cultural and heritage wealth of the State.

Different experience

The new concepts, including heli-tourism and cruise tourism, he said, were being promoted to provide tourists a different experience. “The cruise tourism will be launched on the coastline between Mangalore and Karwar, providing options for casino, bar, and other leisure and entertainment. The department is finalising these concepts and expression of interest would be called very shortly,” he added.

The heli-tourism, he said, catered to a segment of tourists that would want to visit as many possible places of tourist interest as possible within a limited time. Besides, Karnataka was also promoting medical tourism. “We are targeting people in the U.S. and Europe for promoting medical tourism. Despite the economic recession, people spend on medical tourism,” Mr. Reddy added.

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