State to host global travel expo to aid pandemic-hit tourism

Tourism Minister C.P. Yogeshwar inaugurates Connect-2021, a stakeholders’ networking initiative

Minister for Tourism, Ecology and Environment C.P. Yogeshwar on Tuesday said Karnataka will be hosting the second edition of Karnataka International Travel Expo (KITE) in August this year and added that the event was expected to attract delegates from over 30 countries seeking opportunities in the State tourism ecosystem and to discover Karnataka tourism.

Speaking after inaugurating Connect-2021, a stakeholder networking initiative, organised by the Department of Tourism and Karnataka Tourism Society (KTS) here, the Minister said tourism, before the pandemic, contributed 14.8 per cent towards the State’s GDP and supported over 16 million jobs.

Karnataka has immense potential to become a world-class destination and the Department of Tourism was being supported to globally market the State, he said.

The KITE on August 27, 28 and 29 is aimed to aid recovery of the tourism and hospitality industry in the State which had been hit by the pandemic.

Connect-2021 is an annual event to meet all tourism stakeholders in the State and to interact with them, and to showcase the activities of the Department of Tourism and KTS.

T.K. Anil Kumar, Principal Secretary, Tourism, said Karnataka is home to a large and exciting portfolio of globally acclaimed tourism products with UNESCO world heritage sites, wildlife sanctuaries, virgin beaches.

The Karnataka International Travel Expo would provide an impetus to inbound travel and tourism and also enhance the marketing efforts of Karnataka Tourism Department to promote destinations to the travel-trade from all over the world.

K. Shyamaraju, President, KTS, said Connect-2021 will help the hospitality, leisure and tourism sectors in the State to come together under one initiative and will add value to the stakeholders’ efforts to market their products and create a networking opportunity with various other marketing organisations and professionals.

Nagendra, MLA; MUDA Chairman H.V. Rajeev; actor Shruthi; and prominent stakeholders from the tourism industry were present at the inauguration.

Meanwhile, the stakeholders have welcomed the government’s decision to accord industry status to the classified hotels and resorts at a time when it was reeling because of the pandemic. The decision is timely, they said.

Connect-2021 gives opportunity for the stakeholders to give suggestions for tourism promotion and explain their needs with a road map for making Karnataka one of the leading tourism destinations. The stakeholders’ thoughts on various aspects are debated with the department making efforts to bring solution for tourism promotion, they said.

The event also aimed at creating responsible tourism awareness among stakeholders for respecting locals and involving locals in tourism activities. It also involves all stakeholders in creating awareness on the activities by the department besides trying to get maximum number of stakeholders for enrolment as members of the Karnataka Tourism Society to make KTS a strong tourism body, the KTS said in a release here.

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