KSTDC finds no takers for its women-only package tours

KSTDC finds no takers for its women-only package tours

An exclusive package tour for women travellers hasn’t found many takers a year after its launch. 

Just one group of travellers has gone on the women’s special package trip introduced by the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC). The tour offers a two-night, three-day trip to Srirangapatna, Mysuru and Madikeri. 

Some other tours that aim to encourage solo women travellers haven’t got a good response either. The Tourism Department offers solo women travellers a discount when they travel to wildlife sanctuaries and reserves under Jungle Lodges and Resorts. 

The measures were aimed at showcasing Karnataka as a safe destination for women tourists, encouraging solo female travellers and marketing women-friendly destinations and routes. 

But the surprisingly tepid response has forced the KSTDC to change gear. “We are partly to blame. Not many people are aware of our offers and facilities,” Kumar Pushkar, Managing Director, KSTDC, said. The department is now conducting a survey to understand what women travellers want, where do they want to go, and has started giving them customised offers.

Women can now book a trip anywhere and for any number of days. But the response isn’t yet encouraging. There have been just a handful of inquiries for Kodagu, Mysuru, Ooty and Hampi. 

A senior tourism official underscored the need to draw women in groups — mothers with daughters, sisters or just friends. “At travel marts and interactive meetings, we see women from different age groups making inquiries about travelling to other states. We need to draw them to our destinations.” 

The official, who would not be quoted, acknowledged the poor publicity of KSTDC’s offers. “Booking agents seem to have forgotten our schemes. We need to reintroduce them with a difference and we are working on that,” he added. 

Bhargavi K, an avid traveller, said Karnataka would make for a poor destination for women tourists.

“Wayside amenities (such as clean toilets, hygienic restaurants, ATMs, vehicle repair shops, etc) still do not exist,” she said. “One needs to have influence or a lot of money to have a safe, uncompromised and hassle-free trip. People are judgemental, unlike in Gujarat, Rajasthan or even Maharashtra.”