Government to study carrying capacity of tourist hotspots

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In the wake of increasing footfall in various tourism destinations, the Tourism Department, keeping the safety aspects of tourists in mind, is planning to undertake a ‘carrying capacity’ assessment of tourist hotspots.

Tourism officials said while there are restrictions on booking at forest guest houses and Jungle Lodges and Resorts that regulate the footfall, there is little or no control in other places. Many untoward incidents have been reported, like at waterfalls and beaches. 

“The rise in footfall increases the revenue, but it is also a matter of concern from the safety point of view. Places in Kodagu or Hampi or even at waterfalls need to have restrictions. The environment can get affected. Cases of untoward incidents being reported at MM Hills, Kumaraparvatha or even at Nandi Hills are not rare. We cannot put restrictions immediately.

The involvement of the district administration is also important in such matters. So to start with we only want to undertake a study of the carrying capacity of various destinations and after a detailed discussion with the government, the next course of action will be decided,” said an official from the tourism department. 

The official said there is no one base or benchmark to mark the carrying capacity and footfall. It will depend upon the location, the type of site (nature, heritage, coastal, museum, science and technology or others), an average calculation of the footfalls recorded over the years and the historical and environmental significance. 

“Since this is being done for the first time, experts and locals will also be consulted on what they require and what should be done. Any exercise that hampers the livelihood of the locals and state economy will not be undertaken. After Covid, things have got back to normalcy, we do not want to restrict the inflow of tourists to the state. The carrying capacity study will also act as a baseline to decide the future course of tourism development and potential,” the official said.

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