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New airports to help boost tourism | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: In a bid to boost its sagging tourism sector, the government is looking to leverage new airports — those being constructed and even ones that have been proposed — to lift footfalls. With Karnataka now boasting airports in Shivamogga, Kalaburagi, Belagavi and Hassan, the tourism department, as part of this proposal, has decided to push forward with five tourism circuits in the state. Officials in the tourism department say the government has merged two previous budget commitments to start tourism circuits. “The two budgets of this fiscal year had proposed five tourism circuits in the state, which will now be given a push. These include the south Karnataka circuit, the north Karnataka circuit, the coastal circuit, the Kalyana Karnataka circuit, and the Kittur Karnataka circuit,” said an official.
Most of these circuits are being leveraged, keeping in mind the new airports and airstrips that are being launched in the state. For example, the under-construction Hassan airport will be used to nudge tourists towards the newly identified UNESCO heritage monuments of Belur and Halebid. “Until now, those visiting Belur and Halebid use the Mysuru airport to reach heritage sites,” said an official. “Once the Hassan airport launches, we will be able to leverage it to boost the local tourism economy. This also goes for Nandi Hills which the department is developing into a tourist destination.
It can offer fliers to Bengaluru a oneday getaway trip.” In the Kalyana-Karnataka region, besides the Kalaburagi airport, the proposed upgrade of the Ballari airstrip and the newly built Raichur airport will also help boost the economy. This applies to the Kodagu airstrip and Shivamogga airport, which will help the department draw up nature and adventure-based tourism activities in the vicinity. Sources say the new state tourism policy is expected to detail plans of these tourism circuits, which will help the department provide direct access to tourist sites. Kapil Mohan, additional chief secretary (tourism), said the new airports will boost existing connectivity to heritage and religious sites in the state. “We will use this air connectivity to increase tourism potential in the state, as most of the airports will help establish newer routes for international and domestic tourists who come to Karnataka,” he said.

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