State to woo tourists big time at intl expo in Bengaluru from Feb 28-Mar 2

Minister launches exhibition logo; event to become annual affair

State to woo tourists big time at intl expo in Bengaluru from Feb 28-Mar 2

Bengaluru will host the Karnataka International Travel Expo-2018 (Kites) for the first time. Normally, the Tourism department participates in such events abroad. But from now, the plan is to host Kites annually in Bengaluru by the department, Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said on Tuesday.

Kites will be held at Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre from February 28 to March 2. The expo will also have the first Blogathon for travel bloggers to showcase their talent. Bloggers' exchange programme will be held with other countries to encourage talent and attract more tourists. A competition for bloggers is planned. Based on the number of bookings, special Golden Chariot trips will be organised for bloggers and international tourists. There will also be a start-up pavilion, where tourism-based startups will participate, Kharge said.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the launch of the expo's logo. The tourism department's logo features an elephant. Kharge said the elephant was chosen as the logo because Karnataka houses over 8,000 Asiatic elephants, the highest in India.

This year, the department is promoting wildlife, adventure and cultural tourism. Luxury tourism will also be advertised. The upcoming Mahamastakabhisheka in Shravanabelagola will be promoted at Kites.

The three-day B2B event will attract over 1,000 delegates. So far, 400 buyers have registered, of which 100 are international. Around 12,000 meetings have already been fixed. The government is investing Rs seven crore in hosting the expo, which also includes Fam (familiarisation) tours.

Kharge said the idea of Kites is to showcase various destinations of Karnataka to international tourists, apart from Bengaluru. The department has identified 20 destinations, based on footfall and proper infrastructure. A master plan comprising infrastructure, connectivity and conservation is being prepared. So far, 14 master plans are ready and seven detailed project reports are being prepared. The list of destinations include Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Mysuru, Belur, Halebidu, Hampi, Jog Falls and Manjrabad in Sakleshpur.

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