Tourist destinations in state to be made disabled friendly

Palaces in Hampi, Pattadkal among 20 locations shortlisted
Last Updated 26 September 2016, 19:52 IST

Tourism department is going the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) way to make heritage tourist destinations in the state disabled friendly.

The department is planning to make 20 destinations disabled friendly by installing ramps and audio panels. The theme for this year's World Tourism Day (observed on September 27) is “Tourism for All- Promoting Universal Accessibility.” 

The department wants to replicate what the ASI did at the Tipu Summer Palace in Chamarajpet in Bengaluru in 2015. The ASI made the one-acre palace area disabled friendly with ramps and introduced audio panels for the blind, by spending Rs 7 lakh.

“No one is allowed to touch the palace walls. But the visually-impaired have been permitted and they will be helped by trained guides. When they touch the walls, an audio is played, explaining the history of the palace and Tipu Sultan,” said Arun Raj T, Superintending Archeologist, ASI, Bengaluru.

The response has been overwhelming and, this year the ASI will replicate it in eight more sites in Karnataka such as Daria Daulat Bagh in Srirangapatna and palaces in Hampi and Pattadakal, Raj added.

Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said that in another six months, the department will start working on making prime sites and destinations disabled friendly.

“We are starting with the heritage bicycle ride in Bengaluru from September 27. An audio guide can be accessed by downloading an app on the smart phone, which will explain each destination of the circuit.”

Kharge said that a pilot project will soon be launched with one of the start-ups selected from the “Pitch to the Government” Hackathon competition that was conducted by Karnataka Startup Cell, IT-BT and Tourism departments.

The hackathon was organised to crowd source innovative solutions and products to improve tourism. “We received 127 applications, of which 51 ideas were shortlisted. Later, the jury finalised 12 ideas for implementation with departmental funding up to Rs 1.95 crore. The list of ideas and award winners will be announced on World Tourism Day,” Kharge said.

The minister on Monday launched Prathama (Pravasi Thana Mahiti), an online tourism platform for collecting and disseminating key information on tourism sector. The website will run parallel to the existing one of the Tourism department.

Though most information on Prathama is for inter-departmental communication, people will be given access to some key aspects. Feedback, complaints and suggestions from tourists will be immediately forwarded to officials concerned and the ground staff for action, Kharge said. Prathama will include data on tourists, status of projects and accommodation availability in hotels and homestays.

World Tourism Day events
*Heritage cycle rides of 10-12 km in two circuits, Basavanagudi Heritage Circuit and Bengaluru History Circuit.
*Tipu Sultan Summer Palace, Town Hall, Freedom Park, Mayo Hall and Bangalore Museum to be illuminated from Sept 27-29
*Special tour for BBMP school students to Bal Bhavan, science museum and Bengaluru museum.

‘Cauvery row will not impact Dasara’
Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge on Monday hoped that the unrest in the Cauvery basin area will not cast a shadow over the Mysuru Dasara festivities.
“Cauvery is a very serious issue and we are with farmers. But, we hope that the row will not caste a shadow on the Dasara festivities,” Kharge told reporters here.
Naveen Raj Singh, Secretary, Tourism department said tourists need not worry as additional security measures have been put in place in Mysuru and surrounding areas for the Dasara. The department is spending Rs 1.38 crore to attract more tourists to Mysuru Dasara. Last year, the domestic and international footfall was around 12 lakh.


(Published 26 September 2016, 19:52 IST)

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