Choice destination for tourists

15 January 2007

With regard to tourism, Goa is saturated, and Kerala over sold. In this scenario, coastal Karnataka with its natural beauty and diverse culture is emerging as the destination of choice for many tourists, Eulalia D'Souza, proprietress, Lia Travels and Tours, said at a workshop on "Tourism development in coastal Karnataka" organised by the Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Saturday.

Basic infrastructure and suitable marketing was required to tap the tourist potential of the region, she said. Measures such as updating the tourism website of the State regularly, printing informative brochures on South Canara and appointing travel guides, could go a long way in attracting tourists, she added.

Good Roads

C.R. Kamath, director, Corporation Bank, stressed on the need to have good access roads and clean toilets at places of tourist interest.

Basic signboards must be in English to ensure that visitors from outside the State or abroad do not feel unwelcome. Dr. Kamath said that boards with information on the historical significance of monuments must be set up. Often, at historical sites, little or no information was available about the place, he said.

Jesper Houggard of Serena Spa Pvt. Ltd. said more budget hotels were needed to attract tourists.

The hotel rates in Karnataka were at two extremes. Tourists felt that they did not get "value for money" in such hotels. Most people look for a clean place to stay at a reasonable price, and not five star comforts, he said. M.R. Vasudev, Airport Director, Mangalore, spoke about the need to develop a comprehensive plan for the development of tourism. It was not enough to have an international airport. Infrastructure around the airport must also be developed, he said.

There was a need for better road connectivity, and more budget hotels in Bajpe area (where the airport is located), he said.

L.C. Soans, proprietor, Soans Farm, Moodbidri, said the involvement of local community was essential for the development of tourism. Small-scale entrepreneurs, autorickshaw drivers and taxi drivers must feel that they have a stake in the development of tourism, he said.

Big scope

William Pais, journalist and author of the book "The land called South Canara", said there was big scope for heritage tourism in coastal Karnataka.

The workshop concluded with a discussion on developing a catch phrase and a mascot to promote the region. Some delegates at the workshop suggested that "Kambala", the buffalo race, a unique folk sport of Dakshina Kannada, could be the mascot.

John Prasad Menezes, president, Kanara Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that the suggestions put forth at the workshop would be forwarded to the State Government.


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