Bengaluru: With 20-million-odd Indian tourists travelling abroad on vacation every year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged them to visit 15 tourist destinations within the country by 2022 to give a fillip to the domestic tourism sector. He was addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 73rd Independence Day on Aug.15. Modi said India has much to offer and if domestic tourism increases, international footfalls too will increase. Modi’s proposal will help pump up domestic travel which has struggled as many Indians cut back on consumer spending, and it could also create badly-needed jobs.
After Modi’s push, the Karnataka Tourism Department is preparing a list of the best destinations to showcase. While the Union Tourism Ministry has projected the 17 listed sites in the recently announced Union Budget, Karnataka Tourism Department is listing the top 20 destinations in the State.
Among the Karnataka’s top destinations are Chamundi Hill and Palaces of Mysuru, Srirangapatna Fort, Melukote in Mandya and Talacauvery in Kodagu. Karnataka’s Hampi is the only place in the State that figures in the ‘Iconic Sites’ list prepared by the Union Tourism Ministry.
In her maiden Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that 17 model sites will be built by the Government to encourage the tourists to visit the country. According to the UN World Tourism Organisation’s predictions, 50 million Indians will travel overseas in 2019, up from 23 million in 2017.
Sources said that the Tourism Ministry has set 2022 as the deadline to develop and upgrade the sites with all state-of-the-art facilities. The detailed project report for these sites is being prepared, said sources.
With six operating airports in Mysuru, Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Hubballi, Belagavi and Vijayanagar in Hampi, Karnataka has observed an approximate 12% to 15% year-on-year growth in demand, offering a cultural mix of heritage along with diverse flora and fauna.