Karnataka ranked fourth as domestic tourism destination and fifth among tourists arrival from abroad, she told UNI adding that the share of foreign toursits arrivals to the State had increased from a mere 4.03 per cent in 1991 to 15.7 per cent in 2004. Last year as many as 24.6 million domestic vistors and 545,000 foreigners enjoyed the tourist splenders of the state.
Much of this was attributed to the state government's efforts to promote a significant aspect of the region including the traditional lifestyle of the common people she added.
Ms Sarkar said FICCI believed that tourism was a priority sector in our economy, it has been acting as a catalyst for the development of tourism industry in the country, providing a forum for tourism and related industries to interact among themselves. It was also creating synergies between tourism related industries, government and international agencies. FICCI was facilitating exchange of information through the establishment of tourism information network in the region and monitoring and assisting the centre and state government in designing tourism friendly policies she added.
Stating that tourism was a priority sector of the economy accounting for 5.8 per cent of the India's GDP she said it was the third largest foreign exchange earner and had one of the highest employment investment ratios. Every additional investment of Rs One million had the potential to generate 47 per cent jobs. Every direct job created led to the creation of 11 per cent indirect jobs, she added.
The additional director of FICCl said FICCI had been organising tourism expos across the country, especially in South, which had great potential to generate more revenue to state governments. it had also commissioned a study on tourism in southern states focusing on areas such as private sector investment, accommodation availability, brand positioning and providing access infrastructure critical to the development and developing integrated circuits that strategically link destinations fully supported by a high level of tourism services and amenities.
She said Karnataka tourism expo organised by the Karnataka Tourism Association with FICCI would showcase and further the competencies of Karnataka tourism by checking out relevant strategies in areas of tourism infrastructure strategic marketing and planning new projects in Eco, Rural and Health tourism. This event would be held in city of palaces Mysore from tomorrow for two days and which would showcasing the potential of Karnataka tourism, spot new opportunities and areas of development, create public private partnerships to remove infrastructure bottlenecks facing Karnataka tourism and increase tourism's contribution to state's economy by stimulating investment and employment.
Mysore city has been selected for this mega event which has great potential in terms of bossting the tourism in and around the city.
The two day conference would also deliberate on the development of brand positioning of Karnataka around its strength. Heritage, Eco, Coastal and Health tourism and address the critical factors including the environmental sustainability stimulating the private sector participation, agumenting accommodation, cap city, developing the access infrastructure and the integrated circuits Ms Sarkar said.
An exhibition during the two day event would provide window to the tour operators and travel agents to market. The tourism product and services, the leading among them include Karnataka tourism, Chattisgarh tourism, Indian Railways, Singapore, Kingfisher Airlines, Major hoteliers, Tour operators and Travel agents of Karnataka and abroad.
Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy will inaugurate the event tomorrow.
A key issue to which the growth of Mysore's tourism potential is linked is connectivity to Bangalore and other destinations, Bangalore had emerged as the most important destination in India for international business travellers most of whom prefer to include in their hectic schedule a visit to places of tourist interest. while Bangalore had a limited offering, Mysore posed an attractive destination. If the commuting time was reduced to less than 90 minutes from the current 210 minutes, it would benefit the sector.
It was here that the need to expedite track doubling work between Bangalore and Mysore assumed importance as it had the potential to change the economy of the entire region, apart from giving a boost to tourism, said Rahul Chakravarty, Senior Assistant Director, FICCI.
Tourists from various parts of the country prefer to visit Mysore compared to other tourist destinations in the State in view of the wide choice of tourism spots in the region. National Parks of Bandipur and Nagarehole were also close to the city.
A survey conducted by the FICCI also revealed that both domestic and foreign tourists visit to Mysore had doubled during the last few years.
Mysore lacked a full fledged domestic airport and though the land acquisition process was on, the government should expedite the relaying of the runway and give the green signal for upgradation of the Mandakalli airstrip he added.
As a stakeholders in the tourism industry in Mysore explain, tourism apart, Mysore is Netamorphosing into a major information technology centre and one of the leading tier-2 cities in the country, hence, there would be a spot in the number of business travellers visitng the city and direct air connectivity to other cities such as Mumbai and Chennai would only enhance its popularity. It was also important for the city to improve its infrastructure, this includes availability of clean drinking water and good public transport system he added.