The Karnataka government on Wednesday launched Caravan tourism, an initiative under which tourists can book a fully- equipped vehicle that will take them to places and the seats that convert and serves as a bed for four people in the night. LuxeCampers, the operator of the caravans led by serial entrepreneur and IT industry veteran Tiger Ramesh and Javad Ayaz has investors like Anil Kumble and singer Vijay Prakash in the venture. This initiative has been started by the tourism department to bring back the sector which is badly hit by COVID- 19.
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa launched the caravans on Wednesday in Bengaluru and said that the government is committed to promote and revive the tourism sector. The CM also said that the tourism industry contributes to nearly 14 percent of the state’s GDP. The COVID- 19 pandemic outbreak has shaken the tourism industry; the department has suffered an estimated loss of around Rs.15, 000 crores. Thus, the government is now taking steps to bring it back on track. The government has also proposed redeveloping 20 important tourist spots in the state.
The service of caravans has been started by a start-up called Campervan Camps. People can visit their website to book services, available in various packages. The government, on its behalf, is providing parking facilities at various tourist spots and Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation Ltd. (KSTDC) hotels.
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Looking Inside the Caravan
According to the state government, the caravan service will boost the tourism sector and will aid its start-up development programme. Each caravan has seats that convert and serves as beds for four people in one car. The vehicle is equipped with a shower, a modern toilet, smart television, and a music system. It also has a kitchenette that includes a refrigerator, a large freezer for a week’s supply, a fully loaded with 3 hob technic of induction, gas and electric, a kettle, toaster, microwave, RO system. The separate shower and incinerator toilet are powered by solar panels, LPG, and an external 230V power. For safety, there are seatbelts, 360- degree cameras, a speed governor, a GPS tracker, first- aid kits, and fire extinguishers. On the outside, you have a shower, a sleek awning with wind sensor and a bicycle rack. Meals are cooked at the camping sites by team and tourists are welcome to pitch in. cooked meals from MTR and ITC are also available and the campervan also has an outdoor barbeque connection.
The experience starts at Rs.25, 000 to Rs.30, 000 for two adults per day. Meals would be at the campsite or through tie-ups with highway restaurants. For reference, a two- day travel to Bheemeshwari is priced at Rs.49, 000, a three- day travel to Sakrebailu Elephant camp would cost Rs.74, 000 and a three- day travel to Kabini would cost Rs.69, 999. These prices are for two and taxes are extra. For a record, you can also buy a LuxeCamper at the cost of Rs.1 crore and then lease it back to the company.
Speaking to the reporters, CM said that, “Under the start-up project, the Caravan buses will promote independent tourism, besides ensuring physical distancing and personal hygiene for the tourists.” The first batch of 10 Caravans is ready to go. The company says it has all- India permits for its caravans, but for now, itineraries are restricted to Karnataka. Goa is next, once it’s safe to travel.