Caravan tourism takes off in Karnataka

The Karnataka government on Wednesday launched caravan tourism, an initiative under which tourists can book a fully-equipped vehicle that will take them places, and also serve as beds for the night.

The initiative has been started by the tourism department to revive the sector badly hit by the coronavirus crisis.

Each caravan has seats that convert into beds, allowing four people to sleep in one car. The vehicles are equipped with a shower, a modern toilet, a smart television and a music system. They also have a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator, freezer and microwave.

The caravan bus has 1,400-watt solar panels on its roof and is fully solar-powered. It uses solar energy for heating and cooling. The toilet is designed to incinerate human waste and disposes only bio ash, thus reducing the use of water and other resources to decompose the waste.

Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa launched the initiative in Bengaluru on Wednesday. Speaking to reporters, he said, “The caravan buses will promote independent tourism, besides ensuring physical distancing and personal hygiene for the tourists.”

Yediyurappa said the tourism industry contributes to nearly 14% of the state’s Gross State Domestic Produce (GSDP). “The Covid-19 outbreak has dented the tourism industry — the sector has suffered an estimated loss of around Rs 15,000 crore. We are now taking steps to revive it. The government has also proposed redeveloping 20 important tourist spots in the state,” he added.

The service is being provided by a company called Campervan Camps. People can visit their website to book services, available in various packages. The government, on its part, is providing parking facilities at various tourist spots and Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd (KSTDC) hotels.

In the first phase, the state will allow caravan tourism in Hampi, Gokarna, Badami, Kudremukh, Sakaleshpura, Beluru, Halebidu, Sakrebailu, and Kodagu (Coorg).