BENGALURU: Call it inspired or forced by the Covid-19 lockdown, the Karnataka tourism department has come up with a plan to revive the sector after the lockdown is lifted on May 4. It’s a plan for the local, by the local, of the local. Tourism minister C T Ravi recently presented an action plan to Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa pushing for the people of Karnataka to be tourists in their own districts, and help revive the state’s economy. According to the document, tourism contributed 15 per cent to the state’s gross domestic product in 2019-20 fiscal. It employs 25 lakh people directly or indirectly.
“Even if the lockdown is extended to May-end, we will need at least six months to bounce back,” Ravi said, adding that the lockdown had caused a large number of job losses as travel and hotel bookings had been cancelled. “We cannot expect inter-state or international travellers in the beginning. Once the lockdown is lifted, we will encourage local tourism. We have up with the concept of “nodu ba nammura’’ (Come, see my hometown), through which we will appeal to people to visit local tourist spots. We will make it interesting, introduce discounts, or dining at such places.
We need to boost the confidence of travellers apart from focusing on hygiene,’’ he said. When the situation induced by the pandemic improves, the department will push for inter-district, inter-state and then international tourists. The Union government has decided to set up a tourism task force to look into ways to revive tourism. The state government will convey to the task force suggestions and ideas it has obtained from various stake holders including hotel owners, taxi operators and travel agents.Saying that there was no such thing as work from home for the tourism industry, the tourism minister said, “We need to push for its survival and revival.”