Karnataka to formulate separate tourism policy for Chikkamagaluru district

Chikkamagaluru karnataka

Although Karnataka has cleared its new tourism policy (2020-25), for the district of Chikkamagaluru a separate policy is being formulated, to address the growing concerns of environmentalists and conservationists. The hill district with just a population of 12 lakh receives a tourist footfall of 85 lakhs annually.

In the wake of rampant violations — construction of resorts, roads, exploitation of water resources in ecologically fragile areas and spoilage of hills ranges by irresponsible tourists — the need for a separate tourism policy was felt, New Indian Express said in a report.

Efforts have begun to frame guidelines so as to make tourism development and tourist travel in the district safe for its forests and wildlife.  Recently, tourism minister C T Ravi had called for a meeting of all stakeholders in Chikkamagaluru to discuss the issue. In this regard, another series of meetings will be held to finalise the policy and come out with the guidelines. According to the minister, the Karnataka State Tourism Policy 2020-25 has already been finalised and further, there is a plan for a separate policy for Western Ghats.

The meeting was attended by all stakeholders including tourist and travel agencies and other related organisations. Five sub-committees have been formed for four different kinds of tourism to improve facilities in the Chikkamagaluru town. They include spiritual tourism, adventure sports tourism, plantation tourism and trekking.

According to the stakeholders, it was a long-time demand to have a separate tourism policy for the district. In fact, tourism activities should be restricted in wildlife areas while it can be increased in the religious sector, as Chikkamagaluru is home to many temples of the Hoysala era which hardly see any visitors due to lack of tourist facilities, they said.

Environmentalists opined that there should be a tourism carrying capacity study for Chikkamagaluru as rising tourism is causing serious impact on the ecology. Other suggestions included incorporating guides who are naturalists and eco guards for adventure sports tourism. The recommendations given by the sub committees will be incorporated in the state tourism policy, the minister assured the stakeholders.