After successfully conducting road shows in the US, the UK and Europe to promote tourism, Karnataka is now on its way to form a tourist circuit with Sri Lanka to lure lakhs of tourists visiting the island nation to the state.
As a first step, tourism minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his Lankan counterpart Upali Kodikara, on Wednesday held discussions and both agreed for a joint-venture in the tourism sector. They have also appointed two officials from each side to implement the proposal.
After the meeting, Reddy said, “Peace has now been restored in Sri Lanka. It has a huge potential in tourism sector, just like Karnataka. It will also host the commonwealth games in 2018. Keeping all these factors in mind, Sri Lanka has come forward to have a tie-up with Karnataka. We have also decided to go in for a joint-venture with them, which will be finalised by the end of January 2011.”
“The joint-venture would help in getting the best out of the mutual experience in the tourism sector. Sri Lanka will promote Karnataka’s tourist destinations to those visiting the island nation, while Karnataka would reciprocate the gesture. A mutually convenient circuit would be promoted,” Reddy said.
“We have so far held 12 road shows in the US and six in the UK. Similar road shows were held recently in Zurich, Brussels and Paris. We received very good response. Our Golden Chariot train project drew wide appreciation. Our tourism policy provides ample opportunities for investors to invest in tourism sector,” said Reddy.
The ambitious heli-tourism project, the first of its kind in the country, will take off in January, though the fare package has not been finalised. Out of four circuits proposed, the ‘Heritage Circuit’ connecting Hampi to Bijapur via Badami, Aihole, Pattadakallu is ready. “We wanted to start the project immediately, but due to the code of conduct in the backdrop of panchayat elections, we have deferred it to next month,” the tourism minister said.
“We have already entered into an agreement with Om Sathya Sai (OSS) company. We will provide the infrastructureand they will operate and maintain the helicopters. They will operate three helicopters, each with a capacity to fly five passengers. We have not studied the exact potential for the project. Even if tourists’ response is not encouraging, we will not stop this project. We are providing subsidy for the company, if the response is poor. And the company will pay 10% to the state government if the response is encouraging,” he said. (DNA India)