BENGALURU: Mysuru is not just about the Palace and Chamundi Hills, and Bengaluru is not all about Cubbon Park and Lalbagh. Turning Covid times into advantage, the State Tourism Department is trying to involve local people to popularise the unexplored places in their backyards.
The department is appealing to the people to send photographs and videos of unexplored places in their towns and villages, which it will popularise. Tourism contributed 15 per cent to the State’s gross domestic product in 2019-20 fiscal. The sector employs 25 lakh people directly or indirectly. But since March, due to the pandemic lockdown, and later post lockdown, the sector has been facing uncertainty.
After the lockdown was lifted, many tourist places have opened up with safety precaution measures in place. “It might require at least six months for inter-state tourists and more than that for international tourists to visit Karnataka. Therefore, we need to focus and promote intra-state tourism for sustainability. There are hundreds of popular destinations in Karnataka and thousands of destinations which are not explored by outsiders,’’ Tourism Minister C T Ravi said.
He said the department is appealing to people to record 30 seconds to one minute video of potential tourist destination places in their village or town. People can send the videos to the tourism department officials (can check the tourism department website) or post those videos or photos on Twitter and Facebook tagging the Minister and department handle. “We will popularise it further,’’ he said.
Referring to his constituency (Chikkamagaluru), he said the number of tourists has increased. “For instance, earlier Mullayanagiri Hill was known for its temple. But over a period of time, it became a favourite destination for trekkers. Similarly, Yana in Uttara Kannada district, one of the most unexplored places, has become popular now. Such beautiful places across the State have the potential to attract tourists within Karnataka,’’ he said.
Accommodation and accessibility will be worked out and the list will be uploaded on their website.
The department plans to constitute District Tourism Task Force Committees headed by DCs. Other members of the task force will include stakeholders like homestay owners, tourist guides, hoteliers and others. They will be involved in improving local places and promoting local food products and artisans.