IPE Global | News | October 31, 2016 IST
A yearning for a beach-side holiday sees tourists head to Goa. For a scenic and leisurely tour of the backwaters, Kerala beckons. But things are about to change with the new Coastal Master Plan for Karnataka, which aims to show how the State can offer similar experiences in its own backyard.
The master plan hopes to break away from the present perception of Karnataka’s culture and architecture-rich 320-km coastline being limited mainly to religious tourism, while also creating new infrastructure. If all goes well, lounging in a resort or indulging in some adventure sports on Karnataka’s coast may soon become a reality. The private company selected by the government to prepare the master plan is coming up with 15 “ready-to-invest” projects along the coastline, which are likely to be developed on a public-private partnership.
They are currently working on getting land availability and clearances from various departments, such as the Revenue, while also considering ecological factors as the regions being developed run through sensitive zones such as the Western Ghats as well.
Anil Kumar Bansal, Director — Urban Infrastructure, IPE Global told The Hindu that the aim of the master plan is to add variety to the State’s coastal tourism. “The tourism potential on Karnataka’s coastline has not been explored to its fullest. Footfall is good during the peak season but only a few districts are famous,” he said. On the list are Murudeshwar, Gokarna, Udupi and Mangaluru, which are again invariably associated with religious tourism.
Tourism Minister Priyank Kharge said the Rs. 99-crore coastal circuit project would also be integrated with the master plan.
It is the uniqueness of the State’s coast — with its architecture, heritage and culture — that will drive the master plan rather than a competition with its neighbouring States. With Karnataka’s coast offering what its more popular neighbours, Goa and Kerala, have, it will be projected as an alternative rather than a competitor, said the private firm readying the master plan. “For example, Udupi, apart from being a temple town, has great architecture, beaches and nature,” Anil Kumar Bansal, director - Urban Infrastructure, IPE Global, which is preparing the master plan, explained.
The roadmap also hopes to introduce lesser known aspects of the coast, including the stunning architecture of the mosques in Bhatkal, the churches in Mangaluru, and the ‘heritage villages’ in Udupi. Having in mind the intention to widen the variety of experiences one can have in Karnataka’s coast, the master plan may also create ‘clusters’ based on interests such as groups of places one can cover if they visit for religious tourism, or for eco-tourism. “The coastline does not have only beaches. Karnataka has beautiful backwaters, patches of which can be developed,” he said. The roadmap will also formulate ‘circuits’, making packages for different durations and different purposes such as MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions) groups.
Brand Bengaluru may kick off with ‘Cubbon circuit’
The ambitious plan to sell Bengaluru as a tourism destination will take off by November-end with a ‘Cubbon circuit’ in all likelihood. The Tourism Department had set up a 10-member Bengaluru Tourism Advisory Committee (BTAC) to prepare an action plan for creating ‘Brand Bengaluru’ and explore the tourism potential in the city. Tourism Priyank Kharge has said Cubbon Park will be the anchor out of which the circuit will span out to other activities such as tree identification, bird-watching, and a tour of the Venkatappa Art Gallery and the museums, among others.
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Our Karnataka project, featured in The Hindu newspaper, hopes to introduce lesser known aspects of the coast.
Karnataka with IPE Global has initiated preparation of a Coastal Master Plan for 3 districts in the State for sustainable tourism.