Indian state of Karnataka will be hosting a Hot-air Ballooning Festival from December 29, 2011 to January 1, 2012. Providing details of the Festival, K Viswanatha Reddy, Director – Tourism, Karnataka said, “The Festival will be organised in three different regions: Mysore, Hampi and Bidar. About 30 hot-air balloon enthusiasts from India and abroad will participate in the four-day event.”
The state tourism department is also planning to launch Heli-Tourism from September this year and will connect Hampi, Badami, Aihole, Pattatakkal, and Bijapur as a circuit. Reddy said that they are waiting for the monsoon to subside to commence operations and the required infrastructure for the service has been put in place. “We are providing helipads, ground handling facilities, rest rooms for pilots, food courts, etc. at all these places. Delhi-based Oasis Air Management Services will be operating their choppers on this circuit. According to Reddy, the frequency of the service will depend on the demand.
In the Nature and Wildlife Tourism front, the state will soon introduce night safaris at Bannerghatta National Park. “Bannerghatta will be the first national park in the country to offer night safaris,” informed Reddy. Bannerghatta is a natural forest situated 25km from capital city Bangalore. In order to lure the luxury segment of the travel, the state is also planning to develop a golf course-cum-resort near Mangalore. The government has completed the bidding formalities for the same and work will be taken up soon. Reddy said that the golf course and the resort is expected to be completed within two years time and will be unique with three sides covered by water.
About the development of the mega convention-cum-exhibition centre in Bengaluru, Reddy informed that the re-tendering process for this mega project envisaged at 35 acres of land near the airport will commence once they receive the cabinet approval. The project envisages a conference hall with a capacity of 6,000 people, with an additional exhibition area and two hotels with a total room inventory of 600 rooms.
Talking about marketing and promotions of destination Karnataka, the Tourism Director said that the destination has been receiving rave reviews from media across the world and has become a favourite destination for both international and domestic travelers. He said that Karnataka Tourism’s luxury train – Golden Chariot – has been received well by the luxury segment after its introduction three years ago. “The train has carried 600 tourists last year with about 40 per cent occupancy, which is an achievement for a luxury product like Golden Chariot,” he informed.