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KARNATAKA PLANS Rs 20,000 Cr INVESTMENT IN TOURISM

The Karnataka Government is eyeing to make the state a leading tourism destinations by 2016-17 and has unveiled a new tourism policy to attract investments worth Rs 20,000 crore in the next five years through public-private partnerships.

The latest Karnataka tourism policy of 2009-14 aims to make the state one of the largest employment and revenue generators as well as an engine for growth. The tourism department intends to create about 2 lakh job opportunities with the next 3-5 years.

Speaking at the global investors meet being held in Bangalore, G Janardhana Reddy, state minister for tourism and infrastructure development, said: “Tourism in Karnataka is witnessing widespread growth and this is one of the main reasons behind the tourism budget seeing a four-fold growth in the last few years.”

This investment will focus on developing Karnataka as a cultural and heritage destination and a hub for eco tourism. It will also aim at making the state a health and wellness centre as well as develop cruise and MICE tourism.

“We also want to set up more theme parks and invest in developing human resources in the coming few years thereby making the state one of the top tourism destinations by 2014,” said K Jothiramalingam, state principal secretary, tourism.

He added that the state is planning to attract a total of 62 million tourists by 2015 as compared to 37 million domestic tourists who visited during 2008.

Tourism in Karnataka has lot of variety ranging from oceans, to hill stations to national parks and forests as well as heritage sports. Places such as Bandipur, Hampi, Belur, Coorg, Karwar and Mysore are few of the popular tourist destinations.