The Karnataka Tourism Department has raised a two-member celebrity team — cricket icon, Rahul Dravid, and singer and cine actress, Vasundhara Das, — to act as its brand ambassador to promote the State as a preferred destination among foreign and domestic tourists.
After signing a three-year agreement to be the ambassador, Rahul Dravid said: "I will promote Karnataka Tourism in Pakistan."
Dravid made this spontaneous remark to a question whether he would use the opportunity of his visit to Pakistan next month for a cricket engagement with the Pakistan team to promote Karnataka.
The two popular celebrities with large domestic and international appeal are expected to lend strength to the Tourism Department's ongoing efforts to increase tourists inflow, which in the last one year has recorded a 14 per cent jump.
Announcing the signing up of Rahul and Vasundhara, the Karnataka Minister for Tourism, Mr J. Alexander, said that this was just a beginning of a plethora of activities designed to help project Karnataka in the global market.
"The focus is to use young crowd pullers like these two who immensely popular in their respective professions for promoting tourism," the Minister said.
For their new roles as the brand ambassadors, Rahul and Vasundhara would be paid an honorarium of Rs 1,00,000 each every year for the three-year agreement .
The agreement has been framed in such a manner as to enable both the celebrities, who visit international destinations quite often, to make use of every opportunity to mention about Karnataka and its tourism products and developments when they address the media.
Dravid said: "while on tour to different countries, I have great opportunity to showcase my State" and Vasundhara Das said: "the Karnataka Tourism Department has already initiated activities to increase the State's visibility in the market. Now it is easy to talk about Karnataka because of this. Earlier, one had to say which country and which region the State belonged to but now, it is quite different."