State to promote heritage, wilderness as part of India's 5 tourism zones

 The state government will wait for finer details of the five tourism zones planned by the Centre before proposing one for the state.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday in his budget proposed to create five tourism zones.

The department will consider proposing heritage destinations and wilderness tourism to the Centre. Naveen Raj Singh, tourism secretary, said that apart from eco-tourism, coastal tourism was also being promoted. Already, Rs 94 crore has been allocated by the Centre. “The year 2017 has been declared as the Year of the Wild in Karnataka. In addition, we are promoting heritage tourism,” he said, explaining the state’s options.

On the Centre’s proposal to boost eco-tourism, Vinay Lutra, chairman of Eco-Tourism Development Board said 11 trails have been notified in the state. By the end of March or April, 10 more trails will be introduced.

“Apart from this, we are also preparing a proposal to the Centre to promote adventure sports, water sports and trekking under eco-tourism. The proposal is estimated to cost around Rs 80 crore,” he said.

Lutra said that as part of the eco-tourism proposal, the board is also promoting eco-friendly vehicles and better safari roads. Lutra clarified that it did not mean tarred roads, but roads where electric vehicles could ply.

When contacted, Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said that these were just announcements and details were not known. “We are yet to get money for proposals made in the last two years on Ramayana and Mahabharata circuits. They had also spoken of heritage and spiritual circuits, but nothing has happened so far.”

Notified trails 

Kodagu (Tadiyandamol), Shivamogga (towards Agumbe), Chikkamagaluru (including Kudremukh) and in Belagavi (which includes Bhimgad camp). The proposed 10 trails are in Bengaluru rural, Ramanagaram, Chikkabalapur and Tumakuru, which include Skandagiri, Makalidurga and Savandurga.

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