Karnataka tourism has drawn global attention like never before. In the next couple of years, several international players in the hospitality industry are expected to pump in huge investments in the State. Malnad and the coastal Karnataka region may attract unprecedented investments.
Sources in the Tourism Department told The Hindu that top executives of 55 companies in global hospitality industry are coming to Bangalore in the second week of February for formal discussions and to formalise their plans of developing hotels, resorts, and luxury spas in places considered "most suitable" for international tourists.
Already, the officials have identified places that are viable for big hospitality projects which could in turn support the tourism industry and local community, and churn economic development in the sector.
According to the Tourism Department, Accor, European leader and one of the world's largest groups in hotels and services; Domino Group of Hotels, Milan; InterContinental Hotels Group, Europe; Kempinski Hotels and Resorts, which have hotels in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia; Residor Group of Hotels, Brussels, Belgium; Best Western International of the U.S. are some of the groups that have reportedly evinced interest to take up multicrore hospitality projects to boost tourism.
Top executives of the said hotel chains will be in Bangalore on February 14 for a meeting with the officials, top local industry players and land owners.
Even the acclaimed hotel groups of India - Tatas, Oberoi, Bharat Hotels, and Asian Hotels - have been invited to the meeting, it said.
Joint Commissioner of Tourism K.C. Srinivasaiah told The Hindu that the global players were attending a meeting on February 14. "The outcome will be crucial as the decisions arrived at the meeting will help the State tourism sector in a big way," he said.
Mr. Srinivasaiah said it was for the first time that such a big delegation of global hospitality industry players was coming to the State for business opportunities.
"Karnataka is blessed with many places of tourist importance. But we need to market our potential aggressively like Kerala.
"The strength of Kerala tourism is the way it is being marketed globally. Our tourism has to be properly marketed internationally," he said.
"Investments will surely result in economic activity and support the local communities that rely on tourism for their livelihood. We have a world heritage site, 225-km long pristine coastline, a quiet Malnad, several heritage sites and architecturally splendid temples to boost tourism," the Joint Commissioner said.
According to official sources, the State received 27 million tourists in 2006 alone.
The growing number of visitors holds immense business potential for land owners and service providers, revenue for the State, and greater job opportunities for the local community.
With the goal of realising this potential, the Department of Tourism has established a special platform that will bring together land owners with clear titles for properties ranging from 0.5 to 30 acres of land, and investors looking for land for sale or lease.
The department has received 225 applications from the people who own land over 0.5 acres, properties near the coast, plantations and estates and properties close to major tourist destinations, keen to sell or lease them out for tourism development.
"We are facilitating direct contact between the property owners and the investors. We shall facilitate until they enter into an agreement. Afterwards, the matter will be left to them.
"By this way, we want to overcome scarcity of accommodation for tourists," the official said.