KARNATAKA

Govt. to promote beach tourism

Staff Correspondent

UDUPI: The Minister for Tourism, D.T. Jayakumar, has said that the Government is planning to promote beach tourism in a big way in the State.

Addressing presspersons here on Saturday, Mr. Jayakumar said the State has 315 km of pristine beaches in Uttara Kannada and Dakshina Kannada districts. The Government intends to build a road close to the coast under its "Marine Drive" project. The Government will approach either the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to finance the development of the marine drive. The potential of beach tourism in the State is immense, he said.

States such as Goa and Kerala have promoted beach tourism in a big way. There are more than 18,000 rooms by the side of the beaches in Kerala and nearly 30,000 in Goa. Since the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms makes it difficult to build hotels near the seashore, the Government will encourage families having beachside houses to build additional rooms.

This will solve the problem of room shortage and also generate additional revenue for the families concerned, besides helping tourism in the State. Towards this end, the Government will promote the concepts of "family tourism" and "village tourism." The cooperation of the people is essential for the success of tourism, he said.

His Ministry intends to promote dams such as the Krishna Raja Sagar and others as tourist destinations. The Government will develop gardens on the lines of Brindavan Gardens at other dam sites, he said.

His Ministry has formulated a Rs. 611-crore action plan to give a fillip to the tourism sector in the State. The plan has been submitted to the Centre. The Government intends to bring about a big change in the tourism sector by encouraging private participation in the sector, Mr. Jayakumar said.

Blueprint

The blueprint prepared by the State Government to give a boost to the tourism sector requires an investment of Rs. 1,000 crores. With the assistance of the Union Government, the State intends to spend Rs. 250 crores every year to make Karnataka the number one State in the tourism sector. It has adopted the slogan "One State, many worlds" to promote the tourism potential of the State in other parts of the country. The Government is also promoting adventure tourism, eco-tourism and pilgrimage tourism in the State, he said.

Sea erosion

On tacking sea erosion, the Minister said the marine drive project might also help solve the sea erosion problem in some areas of the coastal districts. Sea erosion is a recurring problem. Efforts will be made to find a lasting solution to it, Mr. Jayakumar said.

V.S. Acharya, MLC; the Deputy Commissioner, T. Sham Bhatt; and the president of the Dakshina Kannada Mogaveera Mahajana Sangha, Pramod Madhwaraj, were present.

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