Karnataka invites investments in tourism sector

Bengaluru (IANS) Karnataka has huge investment opportunities across the value chain in the tourism industry spanning manufacturing and service sectors, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Sunday told investors.

“As Karnataka offers plenty of investments options with many virgin and untapped tourism spots in the state, I urge you to invest in the state tourism sector,” Siddaramaiah told about 2,000 delegates at an international travel mart here.

Inaugurating the 38th edition of the Pacific Asia Travel Association Mart (PATA) meet at the Bengaluru International Exhibition Centre here, he said the state had the largest number (319) of tourist destinations, including heritage, pilgrimage, adventure, pristine beaches, waterfalls and rivers.

“Tourist arrivals have zoomed 300 percent to 85 million in 2014 from 24 million a decade ago, thanks to two world heritage sites at Hampi and Pattadakal and beautiful beaches on the long western coast,” Siddaramaiah said.

Noting that tourism industry had many positives, such as promoting employment and boosting the state’s economy, he said the sector was environment-friendly and helped in preserving its rich cultural heritage.

Welcoming the delegates, including about 1,000 from 61 countries the world over and ministerial delegations from states across the country, Siddaramaiah said the three-day mega event was the biggest travel and tour networking meet of the region.

Karnataka won the bid to host the premier tourism event at the travel mart’s 37th edition at Angkot Wat in Cambodia last year.

Bengaluru is the third city after Hyderabad (2011) and Delhi (2001) in India to host the prestigious international travel mart.

Organised by the state tourism department in association with the central tourism ministry, the mart is holding an investment forum where Karnataka and other states are showcasing their tourist spots and tourism merchandise to woo more visitors.

Union Tourism, and Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma, state Tourism minister R.V.Deshpande, PATA chairman Kevin Murphy and chief executive Mario Hardy, former union Veerappa Moily and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

About 350 stalls of stakeholders – tourist operators, travel agents, and tourism departments of various states across the country and the hospitality sector comprising hotels, resorts, restaurants and home stays – are showcasing their products and services.

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