Stakeholders in Mysuru give thrust to local travel to build confidence
Bengaluru: Tourism industry in Karnataka and Mysuru that has earned global recognition is staring at the reality of having to live with the Coronavirus. With hundreds of tourist spots and being the bellwether for Indian tourism, all eyes are focussed on how the State opens up for travel.
The Karnataka Tourism Society has submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa demanding that tourism destinations be opened up from June 1. Society President K. Shama Raju told reporters in Bengaluru on Tuesday that although the CM was keen to accord permission, he had said that the decision will be taken after consulting the Central Government.
Even the Shopping Centre Association of India (SCAI) – Karnataka Chapter handed over a memorandum to the CM requesting that malls be permitted to operate with precautions in place. SCAI said that a comprehensive standard operating procedures had been devised to ensure crowd management.
Five-stage recovery plan
Meanwhile, Karnataka Tourism Minister C.T. Ravi has proposed a five-stage recovery process to bring the crippled sector back on its feet, which includes promoting local tourism on the lines of Singapore’s ‘Love Your Local’ campaign.
According to the Minister, the five-stage recovery is based on suggestions received from officials and industry representatives. While the first stage involves creating awareness among citizens on the Coronavirus, the second one will have local tourism activities ‘Nodu Baa Nammoora’ (Come, See Our City), dining out within the city and ‘Love Your Local’ model.
In the third stage, the Government will look at the regional or inter-State tourism followed by the fourth stage where preparation will be made to attract domestic and international tourists. The final stage will see staggered tourism activities involving domestic and international tourists.
According to tourism stakeholders in Mysuru, a lot of tourist destinations in Mysuru are ideal for post-COVID travel since space is not a problem and physical distancing can be managed very well. Local tourism can be revived by allowing tourists from Karnataka into spacious destinations like Mysore Palace, Zoo and the Chamundi Hill. This will definitely build confidence in people to start travelling again, they said.
Slowly, tour and travel operators are opening up in Mysuru and travel agencies are calling up their regular customers to sign up a travel deal. “The focus will be on local travel and we need to start the confidence-building measures for the crippled industry to start taking baby steps. This is the only way to support Mysuru’s tourism industry,” Mysuru Travel Association’s Honorary President C.A. Jayakumar told ‘Star of Mysore.’
Travel within Mysuru
Right now the industry is in a wait-and-watch mode but is chalking out an action plan. If things improve, then they are scheduled to begin marketing by June 15. “Mysuru has managed the COVID situation well and people will get the confidence to travel. We don’t see international travel starting till the end of the year. Inter-State travel too will take time, but travel within Mysuru and Karnataka will be possible,” said stakeholders.
There are over 60 registered tours and travel agencies in Mysuru and there are over 100 unregistered ones. “We are optimistic and are seeking a financial revival package from the Government. Tours or no tours, we have to maintain our offices and we have been prompt in paying taxes. We are confident that the sagging industry will be back on its feet. But international travel will take time. We need to start somewhere and the response from the people is encouraging. Faith in the industry must be restored if the economy has to improve,” said Srinivas of Bharat International Travels (BIT) and A.N. Aiyanna of Soukya Travel & Tours.
Sources from the Tourism Department said that it 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 has conveyed to the Task Force suggestions and ideas it has obtained from various stakeholders including hotel owners, taxi operators and travel agents, sources added.