Karnataka woos private investment to boost tourism

February 29th, 2008 - 1:13 am ICT by admin  

Bangalore, Feb 14 (IANS) To catch up with the neighbouring states like Kerala and Goa in attracting tourists, Karnataka Thursday pitched for private investment in its fledgling tourism sector. At a day-long tourism investors’ meet on ‘Momemtum Karnataka’, the state tourism department pulled out all stops to woo about 110 investors from India and abroad to invest in creating infrastructure, including hotels, home-stays, get-away resorts, health spas and amusement parks.

Showcasing Karnataka’s world heritage sites, wildlife, coastal beaches and tourist spots across the state, Tourism Secretary I.M. Vittalamurthy said the state government would offer incentives and connectivity to enable investors build tourist facilities and create jobs and income throughout the year.

“The state will set up a tourism infrastructure corporation, Hampi heritage village, coastal express train between Mangalore and Karwar, Jog Falls national park and night safaris at the Bannerghatta national park to attract private investment in the tourism sector,” Vittalamurthy said.

The state will provide 50 percent concession on the market rate for lands to be acquired for developing tourism infrastructure.

The state tourism department has identified about 3,000 acres of land across the state to build tourism infrastructure. The potential areas include government and private lands, which need to be notified for acquisition at market rates.

The state government plans to offer 50 percent discount on the market price for potential investors to acquire the notified lands to build tourist facilities such as hotels, restaurants, recreation facilities and amusement parks.

A special project monitoring cell has been set up in the tourism department for speedy clearance of investment proposals.

To promote heritage tourism, the state will allow investors to develop star category hotels at world heritage sites like Hampi and Badami in north Karnataka.

“The idea is to induce foreign as well as domestic tourists to stay more days at these historical places and relive the grandeur of the past. We have identified about 230 acres of land at Hampi for developing world class infrastructure with private investment,” Vittalamurthy noted.

The tourism department has drawn a master plan to develop Hampi under Unesco guidelines and plans to replicate the model at other heritage sites in the state.

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