The Government tries, but alas

I happened to be writing an article on ecotourism today. In the course of my research, I happened to stumble upon the website of the Sikkim Department of Tourism. I was pleasantly surprised by it. Although the layout and user interface could be much better (the site claims it is under upgradation), the content was great for an Indian state government site. There were no broken links that I came across, all the information was up to date and it contained a nice browse by map section that I really liked.

I, being a loyal Bangalorean, then searched for the Karnataka Tourism Department website. But alas, the search was not easy. I Googled “Karnataka Tourism” and the tourism department site was not on the 1st page.  I then tried “Karnataka Tourism Department”. The result, unfortunately, was the same.  Down but not out, I tried “Government of Karnataka tourism department” this time. The result was a listing of a few private travel sites, a report by the Government of Karnataka and the official site of the Karnataka Government, but still no Tourism Department. A closer look at the pages that showed up in the search told me that the tourism department is actually named the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC). It turns out that the KSTDC promotes two websites promoting Karnataka Tourism – KarnatakaHolidays.net and KarnatakaTourism.org which did actually show up in my earlier Google searches but showed no indication of being official Karnataka Tourism sites. In addition, the KSTDC has its own site. I still can’t figure out which one is the actual official Karnataka Tourism website.

As it turns out, both tourism websites are quite usable, well designed and have a lot of relevant information. But if the Government can spend lakhs of rupees on developing these sites (as I’m sure they did) wouldn’t it make sense to spend an extra Rs. 1000 on a Google for Dummies book and get the site optimized for searches? I guess some people never learn.

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