The region’s tourism sector is poised to take wings with Mysuru being provided with air connectivity to five new cities under the Centre’s UDAN scheme.
The routes under the third round of UDAN announced on Friday saw Mysuru being linked to Goa, Kochi, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Belagavi. This is in addition to the existing connectivity to Chennai.
The Mysuru airport was classified under the under-served category and additional routes with prospects for generating more air passenger traffic, was identified and charted out under UDAN 3.
While Alliance Air will connect Mysuru to Goa, Kochi and Bengaluru, Turbo Megha will connect the city to Belagavi. The Hyderabad link will be provided by Interglobe and Alliance Air.
For the stakeholders in the region this could be a game changer for the region’s tourism and investment prospects.
At present, Mysuru receives an average of 3.5 million tourists on a conservative estimate every year.
The tourism sector is fuelled by domestic travellers while international tourists hardly constitute 5 per cent of the total number of visitors and this was attributed to lack of connectivity.
“But with Goa and Kochi – two important tourist destinations patronised by international travellers – being air linked to Mysuru, things could change for the better and shore up the traffic,” according to tourism expert K.S. Nagapathi.
The current annual tourist traffic has remained stagnant at around 3.5 million passengers for the last few years. But the link to Kochi, Goa and Hyderabad could open up the catchment to augment the tourist flow, he added.
The turnover from the tourism sector in Mysuru is reckoned to be around Rs. 1,200 crore generating employment to anywhere between 50,000 to 80,000 jobs and this could receive a fillip.
But it is not tourism alone that will stand to benefit, according to the stakeholders. The city’s investment potential has largely remained untapped due to the distance factor.
Though Mysuru is around 140 km from Bengaluru, the drive takes more than five hours during weekend which puts off potential investors, according to Suresh Kumar Jain of Mysore Industries’ Association.
A direct flight – even if it a hop-on flight providing connectivity to rest of India from Bengaluru – will be welcome and the flight to Belagavi will benefit the small scale units in Mysuru as it opens up the north Karnataka market, he added.
Meanwhile, airport authorities here said they were fully prepared for the launch of additional flights in terms of facilities and man-power. They expect the flights to become operational latest by April.