- Karnataka opens motor camping destinations to attract tourists
- 14.8% of GSDP comes from tourism; domestic travellers to be in focus
- Destinations closer to Bengaluru already booked for whole month
As people across the world are stuck inside their homes, and with a ban on travel across nations, the tourism sector is - no brainer - one of the worst hit sectors. With limited resources for revenue generation states in India have been significantly dependent on tourism to fill up a good portion of their coffers. With states like Maharashtra, Delhi, Gujarat, Rajasthan battling a more severe spread of COVID-19, Karnataka is eyeing to attract a major chunk of domestic tourists. The Southern state is one of the best-managed states in the country vis-a-vis the pandemic.
Karnataka decided to open the hospitality sector in non-containment zones starting June 8 including Jungle Lodges and resorts run by the state tourism department. With protocols in place for tourists, accommodations and service providers, Karnataka hopes to reopen the state as a safe tourism destination.
"The tourism sector is an important economic driver for Karnataka and our government shall take all steps necessary to support the sector emerge from this crisis stronger, resilient and better," said CT Ravi, Minister for Tourism, Kannada & Culture, and Youth Empowerment & Sports. In a first, the department has also given a nod to luxury camping, partnering with the private sector to provide isolated, outdoor experience.
Kumar Pushkar, Managing Director, KSTDC Ltd said, "Tourism is an important component of the economy as nearly 14.8 per cent of the GSDP (Gross State Domestic Produce) comes from it. Revival of the sector is important for the state's economy to come back on to the track." Elaborating on the new caravan tourism, Kumar said that it was in the offing for nearly six months. LuxeCampers, the operator of the camper vehicles, led by serial entrepreneur and IT industry veteran Tiger Ramesh and Javad Ayaz has investors like Anil Kumble and singer Vijay Prakash in the venture. Though Campervan Camps and Holidays India is the operator, the select and permitted camping sites will be closer to jungle properties owned by the government to provide access to waste management and other necessary facilities. Campers and the government will look at revenue sharing per trip. A 2-4 day camping trail starts from upwards of Rs 39,999.
While the sector sees revenues of over Rs 22,000 crore, the department is anticipating nearly a 60-70 per cent dip this year owing to coronavirus. However following the opening up of the sector the enquiries have been very encouraging, said Kumar. While both Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) and Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR) have been profitable entities for the government, sources told that JLR could be looking at around Rs 2.5 crore in revenues in the very first month, with destinations closer to Bengaluru like Kabini resorts already booked for the whole month.