'Adopt a Tourism Destination' initiative to become investor-friendly

To iron out practical glitches in the Tourism department’s pet project ‘Adopt a Tourism Destination,’ and to make it a reality, Tourism Minister R V Deshpande will soon hold a meeting with officials of various departments.

He will also form a committee which will work as a single- window clearance unit. Of the existing 319 tourism destinations in the State, 46 have been listed for adoption under the project, as per the Tourism department order of September 18, 2014. Though the response from the private sector has been good, the problem is handling the various departments which are associated with these destinations.

Citing some examples, a senior Tourism department official told Deccan Herald, “Many corporates have shown keen interest in adopting prime destinations such as Lalbagh, Cubbon Park, Hampi, Jog Falls and some places in Kodagu district. But when meetings were held, we realised that these places are under the control of various other departments.

“While Lalbagh and Cubbon Park are under the Horticulture department, other destinations fall under various deputy commissioners or local panchayats. Convincing officials of various departments has been difficult because issues like seniority, political influence and even sharing of finances have cropped up. So, to iron out all these issues and to invite more private investors for improving the destinations, a meeting was held with the Tourism minister.

Accordingly, another meeting will be held within this month to fine-tune details and to set up a committee and have a single-window clearance sort of mechanism,” the official explained.

As per an earlier government order, a 13-member Project Implementation Committee was formed to examine and approve projects. It comprises the Tourism minister as chairman and the additional chief secretaries of the tourism department, commerce and industry department and forest and ecology, and the principal secretaries of the finance department, Kannada and Culture and Information department and the Director of the Archaeological Survey of India as members.

“But this does not seem to have helped. Public-private partnerships have not been very successful in the tourism department. 

This is because of problems of coordination with other departments. This also slows down the movement of finances and eventually investors lose interest. Thus, we hope the proposed meeting and one officer taking all decisions will be beneficial,” the official added.

The list of 46 destinations in 22 districts include Badami, Aihole, Lalbagh, Tipu Palace Fort, Freedom Park, Bannerghatta, Hampi, Shivagange, Bidar Fort, Gol Gumbaz, Belur, Halebid, Shravanabelagola, Abbey Falls, Kokkare Bellur, Srirangapatna, Ranganathittu, Brindavan Gardens, Talakad, Raichur Fort, Malpe Beaches, Murudeshwar and Jog Falls. 

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