Karnataka takes help of tourism industry to increase voting numbers

 Thursday, May 4, 2023 


To discourage individuals from abusing the Election Commission’s paid holiday on May 10 to visit tourist attractions instead of voting, the travel and tourism sector plans to scale back operations and cater primarily to out-of-state visitors, the Times of India reported.

Deputy Commissioners in various districts have allegedly instructed resorts and homestays not to accept bookings from Karnataka residents. The Karnataka Zoo Authority has left the choice to close zoos to executive directors, however officials at the Bannerghatta Biological facility (BBP) in Bengaluru have notified TOI that the facility would be closed to tourists on May 10.

Dr Sunil Panwar, executive director, BBP, said to TOI, “Usually Tuesday is our weekly holiday. But next week we will work on Tuesday and close operations on Wednesday (May 10). Our staffers will also take leave to vote on that day. Besides, we are encouraging people to vote instead of coming to the zoo or going on safari on that day.” Similarly, other zoos in Hospet, Gadag, Mangaluru and Belagavi are also mulling adjusting their weekly holidays.

Government sources also told to TOI that the travel industry will scale down operations on the day of polling.

TOI quoted G Jagadeesha, director, Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) as saying, “Closing down the entire operation would be difficult for us as we come under essential category of services. Also, summer is peak season for us, and we need to offer our services. We have bookings from several out-of-state travellers who we must serve. Employees will be allowed to take leave to vote. We will continue with our services on a limited scale.”

Many resorts and homestays in Kodagu and Chikkamagaluru have also decided to keep services at a minimum.

“Nearly 80% of our staffers are from local areas or from nearby districts,” said a homestay owner in Chikkamagaluru to TOI. “They also need to cast their vote, and we will be low on manpower. Hence, we will continue our operations with the staff available and cater only to inter-state travellers who have nothing to do with polls in Karnataka.”

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