Incentives to attract private players in tourism sector

Incentives to attract private players in tourism sector

State govt to develop 18 beaches as tourist destinations

Incentives to attract private players in tourism sector

The State government is making all-out efforts to attract private players to the tourism industry by incentivising investments in Karnataka. Under the new tourism policy for 2014-19, the government is pushing for a number of incentives and concessions along with improvement of infrastructure and basic amenities for tourists.

Having made it clear that the government will not be investing in the construction of resorts or hotels, Tourism Minister R V Deshpande told a press conference that the modalities of the incentive schemes for investing in tourism are being worked out.

“We will give incentives and concessions to private players under the new policy. We will also create a new tourism industry facilitation act, on the lines of Industries Facilitation act, for simplifying the regulatory framework for investment,” said Deshpande.

Spread across 12 to 13 sub-sections, like eco tourism, coastal tourism, agriculture tourism, rural tourism, holistic and wellness tourism, the new policy is scheduled to be prepared by mid-June and presented before the Cabinet.

The policy is slated to create new tourism ‘circuits’. While Bijapur district will see more of a historical and archaeological circuit with Hampi, Aihole and Pattadakal, the coastal districts will see a coastal tourism circuit.

The State has already received a Rs 45-crore monetary package from the Centre to develop coastal tourism. Accordingly, the government is trying to develop 18 beaches as tourist destinations. There will be a surfing facility at Panambur beach and scuba diving at Netrani beach.

On whether the government is seeking redrawing of the Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ), Deshpande said that the State has already approached the Centre for the purpose.

The minister said that the Centre wanted to draw up a fresh hazardous line along the coastline, considering tsunamis, high tides etc, and then provide a relaxation of the CRZ, if possible.

“The Centre has approached the Survey of India for the purpose. But in the interim, we have asked for the formation of a special committee to draw a fresh CRZ, to encourage coastal tourism. We are told that the committee has been set up, but there is no official communication in this regard,” said Deshpande.

While Goa and Kerala have not more than 70 metres of CRZ, beyond which development can take place, in Karnataka it is pegged at 200 meters from the coastline.

The State has sought the relaxation of the CRZ for 44 beaches and four islands along a 320-km coastline.

On the issue of security at these tourist destinations, it is said that the State will be looking at replicating the Goa model by employing private security companies registered with the Home department.

319 tourist destinations identified in State

Infrastructure-related departments to allocate separate funds for providing connectivity to the destinations

Creation of Tourism Infrastructure Corporation for centralising tourism-related activities

Appointment of a private consultant for every district to approve tourism development plans

Starting a guide certificate course (for people who have passed class 10) in six to seven universities.