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 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 today by Chief Minister Sri. Siddaramaiah in the presence of Sri. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism along with Mr. AN Mahesh , Chairmain JLR, Secretary Tourism Mr. Naveen Raj Singh, IAS, Dr. N Manjula, IAS, Director-Tourism and Mr. Kumar Pushkar, IFS, MD – KSTDC.
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 with 17 Jungle Resorts and 5 Jungle Camps.
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 road in Hampi in mid December 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 legally 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.
To kick-start the “Year of the Wild”, a new campaign was jointly unveiled today by Chief Minister Sri. Siddaramaiah along with Sri. Priyank Kharge, Minister of State for IT, BT & Tourism. 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.“
Mr. 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.
The declaration is expected to bring in more tourists to Karnataka and give a much-needed fillip to tourist footfalls in the state.