Info on tourist destinations in State just a call away

Govt okays 24x7 helpline that will provide details of routes, hotels, etc

Answers to specific queries on tourist destinations in Karnataka and related on-the-ground information such as accommodation and transport connectivity could soon be a phone call away.

The Karnataka government has cleared ‘Karnataka Tourism Any Time Information Service (KATIS)’, a proposal prepared by the Tourism Department that seeks to set up a 24/7 telephone helpline which will allow travellers access to authentic information about specific tourist destinations in the State.

According to the proposal submitted under the ‘Challenge Fund’ Scheme set up by the State government for the improving quality of the existing services or introducing new public services for the convenience of people, KATIS will be operated by trained staff who will answer queries of travellers round the clock in three-eight hour shifts a day.

A high-level committee headed by Chief Secretary S V Ranganath, which scrutinised proposals received under the Challenge Fund Scheme recently, sanctioned Rs one crore for the project.Once a call is made to the helpline (number yet to be announced), the caller can choose between North Karnataka tourist destinations (Hampi and northwards) and South Karnataka destinations.

 Each of the categories will be handled by specialists trained in information on these destinations.

Details of routes, places of interest, nearby museums, transport, hotels, homestays besides nearest helpline service like hospitals, banks can be sought, official sources said. Travellers can even call the helpline after reaching their destination to clear confusion, if any, about places to visit, accommodations, etc.

According to the proposal, the helpline executives will classify callers into first-time visitors and repeat visitors and guide them appropriately. While first-time visitors - from other states and unfamiliar with the place of visit - will be provided information to build their confidence and help them discover the places they want to, travellers familiar with a particular region will be encouraged to explore and discover nearby places of historic and culture importance.

Helpline executives will also keep track of grievances, if any. The executives will maintain a data on the travellers’ profiles to help the tourism establishment update or improve their services, the sources added.

Smartphone applications

The high-level committee also sanctioned Rs 14 lakh under the Challenge Fund Scheme to develop smartphone interactive applications that would provide information on various tourist destinations, including beaches, pilgrim centres, waterfalls, art and culture, besides cuisines.

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