BENGALURU: The state government has urged the Centre to relax Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms to develop beach tourism in the state.
“Due to CRZ guidelines, no activity can be taken up 200 metres from the high tide at sea. We have sought a relaxation of the distance to about 50-80 metres. Government of India is looking at our proposal favourably and we are expecting an approval soon,” said Tourism and Higher Education Minister R V Deshpande.
Addressing a media briefing at the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Travel mart 2015, being held at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, he said both the Prime Minister’s office and Environment Ministry were positive on relaxing the norms as all coastal states have made similar proposals.
Relaxation of CRZ norms is essential as the 320-km stretch of coast in Karnataka, with 44 beaches and a few islands, has a huge potential for development, he said. “The state government is working to resolve issues pertaining to cleanliness and security for women in tourist destinations. Moreover, aggressive publicity for tourist destinations in the state is also being taken up,” he added.
In order in increase tourist footfall, the central government is working on several tourist circuits under the National Mission on Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD), said Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ananth Kumar.
“Coastal, Himalayas, Rama and Sri Krishna circuits will be developed at a cost of `1,000 crore. Like the Rama circuit, the Sri Krishna circuit will connect various centres of pilgrimage associated with Sri Krishna,” he said.
The e-tourist visa facility or visa on arrival, along with Immigration, Visa and Foreigner’s Registration and Tracking (IVFRT) rules, will remove obstacles for people entering the country, he added.
PATA Chairman Kevin Murphy said India is limiting its options of tourism growth due to its stringent visa norms. “India should allow multiple entry visas, which will encourage people to have short holidays in the country, thereby increasing revenue.
Even though e-visa facility has been introduced, other visa facilities will be crucial to increase tourist footfall in the country,” he said.
PATA organisers said over 1,000 delegates representing 57 tourist destinations around the Pacific Asia region are participating in the Travel Mart.