When the annual State budget of 2022–23 was released in March, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had announced that Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) materials will be set up at 15 tourist destinations in the State at a cost of ₹15 crore. Seven months down the line, the ambitious project has not gained much pace as the Tourism Department has not even identified the 15 spots where the materials should be set up, except for the pilot project in Mysuru palace.
The pilot project was also announced in the budget and there has been some progress on that front. The Tourism Department officials say that the project is taking time as AR and VR are new technologies, which require a lot of understanding. “We have held a few meetings with 2–3 agencies to discuss the modalities. We have taken inputs from all of them and prepared documentation based on that. We have called for expression of interest now and very soon we will call a tender to execute the pilot project,” said T. Venkatesh, Director, Tourism Department.
When asked how the new materials will help tourists, Mr. Venkatesh said that they will get a audio and visual experience of the place where they are. “If one goes to Mysuru palace and looks at a pillar, they can get to know the history of that pillar, the metals used in it, its construction and such things with the help of those materials. From wherever they are standing, they can also get picturisation of the palace and its history,” he explained.
Coming to the other 14 destinations, the department is waiting to see the response the pilot project will receive. After the launch at Mysuru palace, the officials said that they would check where else the project might be viable.
Another scheme announced in the budget, Adopt a Monument, under which corporate entities can adopt a monument in the State and take care of its infrastructure, maintenance and conservation, has made a lot of progress. Earlier in August, the government had identified five monuments for adoption. A total of 30 monuments will be given for adoption under the scheme.