Tourism

  • Overview
  • Why Karnataka?
  • Policies & Initiatives
  • Investment Opportunities & Facilitation

India is the 16th most visited country in the world. With the country's vast geographical diversity, attractive beaches, series of world heritage sites, bio-geographic zones and a unique portfolio of niche tourism products, this comes as no surprise. The Tourism and Hospitality sector is among the top 15 sectors in the country and attracts the highest FDI. It brings in 6.8% of the country's GDP with a real growth of 7.9%. India also ranks 8th in International Tourism Receipts in Asia & Pacific Region. Karnataka stands amongst the top 10 tourist destinations in India and has recorded more than 100 million tourists with a growth of 50% in the past five years. Interestingly, more than 40% of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTAs) in India are observed to be coming from United States, Bangladesh, United Kingdom and Sri Lanka. A growth rate of 19.9% was observed from 2011 to 2012 in domestic tourist visits, indicating the sector's widening scope to cater to demands of the domestic market. This sector is also the 3rd largest foreign exchange earner for the country with an expected creation of 45 million jobs by 2025 (i.e. 9.0% of total employment). Karnataka, a state with the largest number (319) of tourist destinations is geared to capitalise on this growth.

Key drivers for growth in the segment:

There are various parameters that act as growth drivers in the domestic, in-bound and out-bound tourism. The key among these would be geographical diversity, government-led initiatives, development of new products, healthy growth of the Indian economy, increasing affordability and promotion of India as a tourist destination. The changing consumer dynamics, ease of finance, open sky benefits, low cost air travel, introduction of medical tourism and large-scale hosting of international events are also drivers to growth in the segment. India has 21 international and more than 50 domestic airports with e-tourist visa facility available for more than 100 countries. Furthermore, the introduction of a fresh category of visa called M-visa in order to encourage medical tourism in India displays the country's readiness to reap benefits from this sector. Karnataka, with its diverse offerings and supportive state government policies and initiatives is a front runner in the country's tourism and hospitality sector map.


Karnataka has a focus on increasing domestic and international visitation through a collaborative approach between Government and Tourism Industry and enhancing the capacity of the sector to stimulate regional development and prosperity of the community. The state's diverse destinations have earned it the tag line 'One state, many worlds'. Air, sea, rail and road connectivity has routed not just the country but, the entire world to Karnataka. The associated support and knowledge infrastructure adds to making Karnataka an ideal destination for tourism and related investments.

Track Record:

Karnataka has over 319 tourism destinations spanning across urbanism, heritage, adventure, spirituality, nature, wild life and sea shores. Karnataka is home to 2 prominent UNESCO heritage sites namely, Hampi and Pattadakallu. Around 118 Million domestic tourists and 5.6 lakh foreigners visited the state in 2014. It has been lauded by Rough Guide Magazine of England in the World's Top 10 Valuable Tourist destinations and awarded by Travel Awards 2015 as the Best State in Integrated Development and Innovation. The state is also the heritage cradle of stone architecture, home of the coffee lands, ancient temples, jungle lodges and golf courses. CNBC Travel Awards 2008 and British Tatler's Travel Guide have acknowledged the state as the 'Site with Best eco-Tourism practices' and ranked the state's Kabini River Lodge in the 'Top 5 Wild life Resorts in the World'; respectively. Coorg is famed as 'The Scotland of India' while World Watch Monument Fund lists Bidar prominently. The state is also a major medical tourist destination in the country. Karnataka tourism has attracted more than 1500 Crores investment in recent times.

Supporting state bodies enabling Karnataka on the list of must-visit places include:

  • Department of Tourism (DoT) - Undertake activities leading to development and promotion of tourism
  • Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) - Provide basic needs of accommodation and transport facilities to the tourists and operates 'The Golden Chariot'- South India's first & only luxury tourist train
  • Jungle Lodges & Resorts Ltd (JLR) - Promotes Eco & Adventure Tourism
  • Karnataka Exhibition Authority, Mysore (KEA) - Promotes art, culture, literature, science and technology of Karnataka through exhibitions/ fairs

Karnataka Tourism Vision Group acts as the advisors for Dept. of Tourism for making Karnataka an ideal travel destination. The Tourism Policy 2015-20 positions Karnataka as a preferred destination and encourages mega tourism projects worth Rs.100 crores while providing concessions and subsidies to investors and operators. Karnataka Tourism Infrastructure Limited facilitates infrastructure and support facilities at tourist destinations via SPVs/PPP model, JVs, etc.Cauvery Tourism Development authority looks into comprehensive development of Tourism facilities in Mysuru, Mandya, Chamarajanagara and Kodagu districts. Karnataka Tourism Trade Facilitation Bill enables investments in tourism while ensuring safety & security and also strengthens accountability at various tiers of Government. Forty-six destinations were identified as part of the Adoption of Tourist destinations project of which 6 destinations have been adopted by corporate organisations. The state has also empanelled rating agencies to assess the quality of service providers in the Tourism industry.

  • Cruise Tourism in Karwar port, Belekeri Port, Tadri Port, Malpe Port, Old & New Mangaluru Ports
  • Tourism related infrastructure: Malaprabha Dam-Belagavi, Hidkal Dam-Belgavi, Manapalla Lake-Udupi, Gorur Dam-Hassan
  • Theme parks in Bhadra Dam, Chickmangaluru; Bengaluru, Almatti Dam,Bagalkote
  • Cable Cars in Chamundi Hills, Nandi Hills, Kemmannugundi hills, Madhugiri
  • Adventure Sport facilities- Davangere, Mandya, Shivamoga, Udupi
Department of Industries & Commerce
#49, Khanija Bhavan, South Wing,
Race Course Road, Bengaluru - 560001