Karnataka on 28 Sept 2020 unveiled its new Tourism policy, which aims to generate over 10 lakh direct and indirect jobs in the sector and Rs 5,000 crore in investments by 2025. With the new policy, the government aims at increasing the contribution of tourism from 14.8 percent to 20 per cent of GSDP by 2025.
Agri Tourism and Rural Tourism are the core tourism themes of the policy with the objective to promote not just agricultural and farming activities but also various aspects of rural life in Karnataka such as local cuisine, culture, traditions, arts, etc. The Tourism policy encourages greater participation of the local community in tourism activities to create inclusive socio-cultural growth and generate economic benefits for the people of Karnataka. The policy was launched by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa and Tourism Minister C T Ravi.
A tourism development fund has been established under Karnataka Tourism Infrastructure Ltd (KTIL) as a strategic intervention for the development of land bank under the Department of Tourism. A 360 degree marketing strategy shall be adopted to promote the state in domestic and key international markets and to leverage Karnataka’s brand of “One State, Many Worlds”.
An investment facilitation cell shall be set up under the Department of Tourism to act as the nodal agency for enabling, facilitating and monitoring investments. The incentives under the policy, include financial assistance of up to Rs 1 lakh for tourism projects undertaking sustainability measures such as water conservation and harvesting, adopting renewable energy sources, and adopting pollution control measures.
The policy also provides for capital investment subsidy and interest subsidy with certain specifications. It also provides for concessions like exemption on stamp duty, concessions on registration charges, reimbursement of land conversion charges, exemption on motor vehicle tax, complimentary infrastructure assistance among other benefits.
The policy has given due importance to the role of tourism in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations. It also encourages an analytics-driven approach for planning and decision-making and provides innovative digital solutions to enhance the quality of services across the tourism ecosystem.