Stakeholders underline the imperatives of expanding Mysuru airport
Stakeholders in the tourism sector in Mysuru aver that better connectivity and upgrade of the city airport holds the key for implementing the tourism circuit as announced by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai during the inauguration of Dasara last week.
Former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna in his inaugural speech had called for developing a tourism circuit ahead of next year’s festivities so that it could emerge as a fulcrum to promote tourism in the State. In response, Mr. Bommai promised to discuss the issue with subject experts and stakeholders and roll out a plan before next Dasara to shore up the tourism sector.
Experts in the field of tourism and travel in Mysuru say connectivity holds the key for further development and underlined the imperatives of expanding Mysuru airport. K.S. Nagapathi, retired professor who has authored books on tourism, said direct flights to other places of tourist interest and destinations were imperative if tourism potential was to be unlocked.
Mr. Nagapati also argued for train connectivity from Mysuru to places of interest like Goa, Thiruvananthapuram etc. It is not enough if we focus entirely on high-end tourists. Airport is important but the existing potential for scooping more domestic tourists by providing direct connectivity to places of tourist interest should also receive priority, he added.
S. Mahalingaiah, secretary, Karnataka Tourism Society, an organisation of stakeholders from tourism and hospitality bodies in the State and promoting tourism extensively, said no new circuit was required as far as Mysuru and surrounding regions were concerned. “If the government releases funds for land acquisition to pave way for airport expansion, the tourism sector will soar and will not necessitate any other intervention,” he said. Mr. Mahalingaiah, who is director of Skyway International Travels, said his interaction with tourists from other countries and States indicated that there was scope for ferrying chartered flights to Mysuru. “From wildlife to heritage, history and culture, Mysuru has everything in a radius of 80 km to 120 km and can be used as a base to cover Belur, Halebidu, Shravanabelagola, Somnathpur, Bandipur, Nagarahole, and Kodagu,” he said.
Incidentally, Mr. Bommai has promised funds in the next Budget for Mysuru airport expansion which entails land acquisition for runway extension. Once extended, it will facilitate long-haul flights. The general perception is that the government should worry about larger issues of connectivity and initiating tourism-friendly policies rather than worry about circuits and providing infrastructure, which, it is argued, is best left to the investors and players in the private sector.
The euphoria over the flurry of statements to promote tourism in Mysuru is also tempered by the realism that not every announcement translates into policy action.
Hence, stakeholders are not going overboard about the new promises and point to the Karnataka Tourism Vision Group headed by luminaries from the corporate world and not many of its objectives have been met.
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