2017 is the “Year of the Wild” for Karnataka Tourism

Today, more than ever before, travel is becoming less about the destination, less about the journey and more about how and what we do. People are opting for ‘beyond the normal’ approach in whatever they do and are looking for experiential travel.

Today the new age traveller has become more evolved. He looks for experiences and helps contributing to the local economy rather than just plain sightseeing activities. And Karnataka, true to its tag line of “one state, many worlds” has a variety of unexplored experiences to offer for every type of tourist. In this context, Karnataka tourism is declaring 2017 as the ‘Year of the Wild’ for tourists who not only want to explore the wilderness & wildlife, but also experience the wild side of life.

“The Year of the Wild”, a brand new campaign, to kick-start the year, was launched by Chief Minister Sri. Siddaramaiah in the presence of Sri. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism along with Secretary Tourism Mr. Naveen Raj Singh, IAS, Dr. N Manjula, IAS, Director-Tourism and Kumar Pushkar, IFS, MD – KSTDC. It celebrates Karnataka’s “wild” side and helps in preserving the environment while engaging with the local economy.

Karnataka’s forests and wildlife are her priceless natural heritage. The State is home to some of the largest jungle tracts south of the Vindhyas, that make it a dream destination for adventurers and naturalists. From the majestic evergreen forests of the Western Ghats to the scrub jungles of the plains, Karnataka has a wide variety of habitats teeming with diverse flora and fauna, some of them endemic to the region and the best way to explore this is with India’s largest network of eco lodges: Jungle Lodges & Resorts. In many ways, Karnataka is a trend-setter in the green movement within the hospitality space. Long before it became fashionable to go green, the Government of Karnataka embraced the natural world. In 1980, along with Tiger Tops of Nepal, Govt of Karnataka established the Kabini River Lodge through Jungle Lodges & Resorts, which since 1987 has been a 100% government owned entity led by many visionaries from the Indian Forest Service. Today, JLR is India’s largest network of jungle and eco-lodges with 17 Jungle Resorts spread across Karnataka and 5 Jungle Camps. Today, JLR is a laboratory for green practices as all of you are aware.

Also celebrating Karnataka’s wild side is a host of activities on land, water and in the sky. Karnataka’s jagged coastline, the Western Ghats with its majestic peaks, incredible craggy formations, expansive water bodies and the many rivers that criss-cross the state make it a haven for adventure sports and other outdoor activities.

Karnataka Tourism has already launched Motorcycle tourism with a bike ride in Hampi with a series of more rides in Karnataka’s varied destinations. The Government is activity promoting Mysore as an aero sport destination especially for sky diving. Also on the cards is an international level surfing festival in Mangalore in mid 2017 which will go a long way in promoting Karnataka’s beaches as a water sports destination. In December 2016, jointly with forest department, tourism department has identified 9 eco trekking routes in western Ghats areas which would be open to tourists and trekkers. All these trekking routes are being created and trained nature guides would be accompanying and educating tourists about nature conservation.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Sri. Siddaramaiah said “I am happy to know Karnataka Tourism, in its endeavour to promote the state has declared 2017 as the Year of the Wild. We are committed to preserving our precious natural heritage and this is one of the many steps taken to fulfill this objective”.

Sri. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism said “Today, most people are passive spectators to the gradual ruination of the earth and the extinction of species and habitats that we inherited from our forefathers. However, unless we do something we won’t be able to leave behind a livable world for our children and grandchildren. There is an environmental crisis at hand. And we are living through it. We at Karnataka Tourism are doing our duty in conserving our environment in every way possible. Today, JLR is a laboratory for green practices.  Our endeavor is to ensure that all of these entities are green-compliant, with a passionate commitment to nature and the environment. “

Naveen Raj Singh, IAS, Secretary Tourism said “Our objective in declaring 2017 as the Year of the Wild is not limited to wildlife alone. With our unique geographical features, Karnataka provides adventure lovers with every kind of terrain, probably except snow-clad mountains. We have initiated adventure activities like aero sports -sky diving in Mysore, motorcycle tourism in Hampi etc. All these activities will help you discover the wild side of Karnataka and yours as well. And we welcome you all to experience the many wonders that await you here.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. N Manjula, IAS, Director-Tourism said, “The Karnataka Government has also established the Karnataka Eco-Tourism Development Board to help the government in protecting wildlife, creating awareness about it, encouraging eco-tourism, forest safaris etc. Along with the Eco-Tourism Board and JLR, Eco-Tourism Zones are being identified with a chain of nature camps and eco-trails. We are also in the process of finalizing the Green Policy for the state,” she concluded.

All this is expected to bring in more tourists to Karnataka and give a much-needed fillip to tourist footfalls in the state.

How to Reach

By Air: With 6 airports, Karnataka is well connected to the other parts of India and rest of the world through the air network. It has airports in Bengaluru, Mangaluru, Hampi, Hubli, Belgaum, Bijapur and Mysore. The Mangaluru international airport and the HAL airport in Bengaluru are the two airports that offer international flights to and fro Karnataka.

By Train: Karnataka is also well connected to other parts of the country through a wide rail network. Besides, the state of Karnataka also has an interstate rail network to make commuting easy within Karnataka.

By Road: Owned by the Government of Karnataka, Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) connects the state to other major cities and states. Besides, NEKRTC and NWKRTC are the two other road transport corporation in Karnataka, making commuting more easier by making remote areas and other places more accessible through the road network.

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