Govt to revive crippled tourism sector in five phases

Govt to revive crippled tourism sector in five phases in state

The Mysuru Palace/ PHOTO BY B R SAVITHA

Tourism Minister C T Ravi on Wednesday proposed a five-stage recovery process to bring the crippled sector back on its feet, which includes promoting local tourism on the lines of Singapore’s  "Love Your Local" campaign. 

Ravi submitted a detailed proposal to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, after collating suggestions from various stakeholders in the tourism sector. 

Tourism, which contributes 18% to Karnataka’s gross state domestic product, provides livelihood to about 35 lakh people. Thanks to the coronavirus-driven lockdown, all tourism activities have come to standstill with all bookings cancelled.

According to Ravi, the five-stage recovery is based on suggestions received from officials and industry representatives. While the first stage involves creating awareness among citizens on the coronavirus, the second one will have local tourism activities - Nodu Baa Nammoora (Come, See Our City), dining out within the city and "Love Your Local" based on the Singapore model. 

Staggered activities

In the third stage, the government will look at the regional or inter-state tourism followed by the fourth stage where preparation will be made to attract domestic and international tourists. The final stage will see staggered tourism activities involving domestic/international tourists.

The sector is in dire straits with 2.50 lakh tourist taxi drivers and guides struggling with no earnings, Ravi pointed out. 

More than 18 tourism organisations have asked for short-term, interest-free loans, a one-year tax holiday and one year’s worth of MGNREGA wages for all employees in the tourism sector. 

The Centre has already constituted a National Tourism Task Force (NTTF) to revive the sector and Karnataka is prepared to attend its meeting that will be held soon, Ravi said.

"Consumer mindset, guarantee of safety and hygiene are two things that will have an impact on the revival of the sector,” Ravi said. “There’s an atmosphere of fear due to Covid-19. It’s important now to change the consumer mindset in favour of tourism.”