Football route to boost tourist footfall in B'luru

Football route to boost tourist footfall in B'luru

The tourism department will soon launch the Bengaluru app, informing tourists what to do and where to visit, Priyank Kharge, Tourism and IT-BT Minister, said on Thursday.

Speaking to media, he said the app, starting with the Cubbon circuit, will be launched in a month’s time. He was speaking at the signing of an MoU between the department and JSW Bengaluru Football Club Private Limited (popularly called The Blues) here.

He said annually around 18 million people land at Kempegowda International Airport and the app, having complete details of Bengaluru, will help them. It will guide tourists on what to see in Bengaluru, Metro routes, bus details, where to eat, stay and places to travel to and from Bengaluru, like Kodagu. At present, the app is undergoing trials.

Kharge said the Cubbon circuit will show buildings and places in and around Cubbon Park. It will comprise an audio guide of the Government Museum, Cubbon Park, details of Victoria statue, trees in the park, birds, details of the rich colonial heritage, Vidhana Soudha, Vikasa Soudha and Bal Bhavan. The circuit will also give details of nearby places like UB City, MG Road and Shivajinagar. Later, the app will cover other circuits planned by the department like Nandi Hills and Basavanagudi.

Tourism director N Manjula said that a tie-up between the tourism department and a sports club was the first ever in India. The idea is to bring more tourists to Bengaluru to watch the game and enjoy the city.

Kharge said the department envisages that football can be the key driver in developing Bengaluru as a sports tourist destination on the lines of Madrid, Milan, Manchester and Munich. The aim is to create Brand Bengaluru, bring people to enjoy its culture, heritage, culinary delights and eco-tourism. The Blues are the most followed domestic football club in India, comprising international and Indian players.

The MoU is not financial, but mutual; they will promote Brand Bengaluru wherever they travel and the department will promote The Blues in the state and the country. At present, the partnership is limited to this season (six months) and is on trial basis, Kharge said.

Sunil Chhetri, captain of ‘The Blues,’ said Bengaluru was the best place in India to stay and enjoy and this would be promoted the world over. It has the best hangout joints, best fans, best clubs and best climate.

Kharge said the incidents of molestation in the city on New Year’s eve were shameful. The police and the government were trying their best to ensure safety in the city.

“Bengaluru is safe to stay and we have the highest number of working women doing night shifts. Talks will be held with the Home minister to hire more tourist mitras, especially females, at tourist sites and extend the services of the existing ones till March 31,” the minister said.

Kharge said the sudden note ban decision of the central government impacted tourism in November and December. Around 20% of the bookings were cancelled as no one was prepared.

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