Economic Times: October, 2016
Bengaluru: Days after the NDA government at the Centre announced the Udan scheme to promote regional flying, the Congress government in Karnataka is coming out with a new tourism model involving a tie-up with an international airport for the first time in India.
The state’s tourism minister Priyank Kharge, the son of Congress floor leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun M Kharge, has worked out the one-of-its-kind deal with the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru to mutually benefit the state’s tourism and the revenues of the airport. The two are set to sign a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the matter shortly.
“We will promote the KIA at all the national and international tourism events that Karnataka participates in. In return, the KIA takes forward Karnataka’s tourism brand, gives us space at the airport and works with us to push up the tourist footfalls here,” Priyank told ET.
With Karnataka reeling under severe drought for the third year in a row, the ruling Congress is looking at any and all alternate revenue generating measures to up the state’s economy and protect its pro-poor image ahead of the next assembly poll in 2018.
“Tourism creates an alternate livelihood for the rural poor and the farmers. If tourist footfalls increase, the poor man who has come from the village to the city also finds a means to earn revenue,” Priyank explained.
(1.8 crore) and bring them into various tourist activities planned specifically for them. “We are trying to get 18 lakh people to spend US $100 (about Rs 6,680 at the current rate) each in the state in a year,” Priyank said. Priyank is also pushing the KIA to get direct flights from Australia to Bengaluru.
Government subsidies are being worked out on lines similar to the Udan scheme to get direct travellers and tourists, as Australia is a target market for the state.
The tie-up with the airport has also begun with a permanent display of a caparisoned Dasara elephant carrying the state goddess Chamundeshwari in a golden howdah, which is a tableaux of the state festival Dasara, said to be the biggest tourist draw of the state.
The tourism department will set up info kiosks, souvenir shops, other display elements and make an outreach to all those who arrive at the airport, highlighting the various tourist prospects in Bengaluru and Karnataka.
“We will kick-off a Cubbon circuit in Bengaluru by end November. With the iconic Cubbon park as anchor, we will have a bird circuit, a tree circuit, a history trail, a heritage trail, an adventure trail, a sports trail, a gastro and pub trail and a calendar of events at Cubbon park. We will showcase these at the airport and begin our attempts to shore up the tourism industry in the state,” he added. He plans to target about 10% of KIA’s annual footfalls of 18 million