State Affairs

Karnataka launches ratings system for tourism services

BENGALURU

Karnataka has launched a novel professional rating system for tourism-related services the state, a first such system in the country. The state plans to rate 18 ‘tourism products’ including homestays, restaurants, hotels and guides across the state using the same. The rating will have a three-year validity and will be used for easy implementation of the Tourism Policy when providing benefits like grants and tax exemptions.

The agencies roped into the scheme are Brickwork Ratings India Private Limited, India Ratings and Research Private Limited, SMERA Ratings Limited and Credit Analysis and Research Limited.

Karnataka Tourism Minister RV Desphande said that the Tourism Policy for 2015-2020 will be announced in a few days too with the State Cabinet having already cleared it. The ratings system would offer a big boost to tourism, he said. “Tourism in smaller-sized countries like Cambodia, Singapore, Dubai and some European nations contribute 15 to 18% towards the Gross Domestic Product. Tourism contributes only 6.1% of the GDP in India,” Deshpande told the New Indian Express.

During the next five to seven years, Karnataka will have an investment of Rs 54,000 crore and half of it will come from the private sector. “In this context, tourism will be a priority for the State,” he said. The state is expected to have 210 million tourists in a decade, up from the 110 million now.

Coaching for Guides

Tourist guides will be given training by five universities in Karnataka. Rani Channamma University, Mangalore University, Bangalore University, Mysore University and VTU will shortly conduct training programmes that run for a duration of four months, inclusive of one-month field training. “Guides will be taught languages like Russian, Chinese, German, French or English,” he said. Under the Karnataka Trade Facilitation Act, guides will become registered tour operators.

Air Chariots

Arvind Jadhav, Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism Department, said “Two private concerns, Supreme Aviation and UTair have shown interest in operating air chariots to leading tourism destinations in the State.” They would be on the lines of non-scheduled chartered flights. There is a proposal to house them at the flying school in Jakkur.

Musafir Namah Bureau

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