Nothing can succeed without community participation and support, and this is true of Karnataka Tourism too, said Mr. R.V. Deshpande. The Minister made this statement at the World Tourism Day celebrations on Saturday. The event is organised by the Department of Tourism.
“This year’s theme for Karnataka Tourism is Community Development,” he announced. The symbiosis of guests coming in and the locals residing at tourist spots are being considered for long-term benefits, he said.
Contribution of tourism in Karnataka to India’s GDP is abysmally low. The Tourism Minister said that Karnataka is yet to tap its potential and the challenge lies ahead with several initiatives being adopted for implementation.
The department sought to involve corporates and industry bodies in managing destinations across Karnataka. The minister said that of the 319 destinations that have been earmarked for tourism, nearly 50 are open for such collaboration with the aim of making them more appealing. “We are the first State government to invite corporates for the maintenance of tourist destinations,” he said.
The department now has certified guides and naturalists, who have undergone suitable training, and they will actually become ‘story tellers’ at tourist destinations. There is great enthusiasm among youth of the ‘IT capital’ to visit eco-spots in Karnataka, but they have been doing so in an unorganised way, said the Minister.
“As 41 per cent of the Western Ghats fall in Karnataka, we will flag off three eco-trails in November. These comprise 10 trekking trails, including in the Kudremukh National Park and Dandeli regions. The Karnataka Forest Department, Karnataka Eco-tourism and Jungle Lodges will try to add nearly 100 trekking trails over the coming two years,” he said.
Members of the Karnataka Tourism Visionary Group Mohandas Pai and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Additional Chief Secretary (Tourism) Arvind Jadhav, Director (Tourism) Sathyavathi, Principal Chief Conservator Forests Vinay Luthra took part in the proceedings.
Source : Hindu