Karnataka: Tourism sector sees hope as homestays, resorts get calls | Mysuru News – Times of India

MYSURU/BELAGAVI: After the relaxation of lockdown, the tourism and hospitality sector has started to see early signs of revival at some destinations. But the industry has tempered its expectations because of the experience of the past year.
The business has seen an uptick since June 21, with popular resorts, lodges and homestays in all districts, barring Kodagu, reopening with 50 per cent capacity.
Jungle Lodges and Resorts (JLR), an entity of the state government, is set to reopen its doors to tourists from Monday. JLR chairman MA Appanna told STOI that visitors would be provided only food and accommodation and only 50 per cent of the facilities would be used because of Covid protocols. “Visitors can stay in lodges inside forested areas and relax,” he said. There will be no safari till the government grants permission, he added.
The forest department has restarted jungle safari at Dandeli in Uttara Kannada and MM Hills in Chamarajanagar. Monsoon is driving the tourist rush towards cascades and hill stations. Resorts and homestays are receiving enquiries in Dandeli, Chikmagalur, Sakleshpur, Hampi and a few other destinations. The department plans to promote lesser-known waterfalls as it believes many people are interested in exploring destinations that are not very crowded.
Heritage sites are also set to welcome visitors. Water sports, a major attraction of Dandeli, will gear up in a few days. Rahul Bavaji, an owner of a homestay here, said that many people had made enquiries in the past week.
Suresh Chengappa, who owns Honey Valley and Chingara Homestays in Kodagu, said that since June 15, he had received about 10 calls, mostly from researchers. “We will start hosting guests once the district administration grants permission. Waterfalls are a major attraction here, apart from the natural scenery,” he said.
Innayath Khan, a tours and travels operator, said from July 1, Chikkamagaluru would see visitors with further relaxation of restrictions. In the past15 days, his agency has received several calls from people interested in seeing waterfalls, trekking and staying in the forest. He said that business would reach normal levels only after temples in the region were reopened for devotees.
Tourism activities in all five tiger reserves in Karnataka continue to remain shut, while Madhya Pradesh resumed them three weeks ago. The National Tiger Conservation Authority has allowed reserves and parks to open after consultation with local authorities.
SR Natesh, director of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve and National Park, said that it had been closed since April 28 because of Covid curbs. Bandipur, spread over parts of Chamarajanagar and Mysuru districts, normally sees an annual footfall of nearly 2 lakh. Mysuru was unlocked with other districts earlier this month as it had a weekly positivity rate of over 5 per cent.
Last year, tourism suffered estimated losses of Rs 5,000 crore every month during the pandemic-induced lockdown starting March. The state government mentioned this in its economic survey for 2020-21. This year, the impact may be bigger, fear officials.
Tourism minister CP Yogeeshwar said he was confident that the industry would bounce back in two months.

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Sagar Biswas

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