Karnataka looks beyond Bangalore to promote tourism

Karnataka looks beyond Bangalore to promote tourism

The Karnataka government is looking beyond Bangalore to promote tourism in the state, as the state capital is bedevilled with infrastructure woes and is no longer a garden city.

"We have moved away from the state capital (Bangalore) to promote tourism in tier-two and tier-three locations and are setting up infrastructure facilities for tourists," state tourism department secretary Latha Krishna Rau said Friday.

Showcasing the state's tourist hotspots, including world heritage sites like Hampi, historical monuments and its rich flora and fauna at the second day of the Global Investors' Meet (GIM 2012) here, Rau said the state government was advising prospective investors to build infrastructure facilities in central, northern and coastal areas of the state, which abound with a range of tourist and religious spots.

"Of the Rs.35,000-crore investment proposals we have received at the GIM in the tourism sector, majority of them are for setting up infrastructure facilities at Mysore, Hampi, Pattadakal, Aihole, Belur, Bijapur and Jog in the state," Rau told about 500 delegates participating in the tourism session at the two-day mega event.

Among global and domestic investors evincing interest in the state, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts has signed an agreement with the state tourism department to build a five-star hotel at Hampi, about 300 km from Bangalore, renowned for its UNESCO-recognised world heritage site.

"Similarly, Orange County, Somatheeram and Windflower have come forward to set up resorts at other heritage sites, including at Pattadakal, Aihole and Belur," Rau pointed out.

Ranked fourth among states across the country as a popular tourist destination, Karnataka attracted a whopping 85 million foreign and domestic tourists in 2011 as against 25 million in 2005.

"We are anticipating $170 million in foreign exchange earnings from overseas tourists in 2020, up from $104 million in 2010, projecting an increase of 63 percent," Rau noted.

The state government is also offering a range of incentives for developing infrastructure facilities at 100 tourist locations across the state such as 50-75 percent exemption on stamp duty on investments above $10 million.

"We have given subsidies up to $72,967 in fiscal 2011-12 for investments in tier-two and tier-three locations in the state in the tourism sector," Rau added.

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