Dandeli Kali river Rafting adventure gets expensive - eNidhi India Travel Blog

Dandeli Kali river Rafting adventure gets expensive

Came across an interesting news on Karnataka tourism, or rather how Govt makes money from Karnataka tourism.

Tour operations/opportunities are assigned to private contractors NOT based on their safety/service records, not based on how affordable they can offer the service to customers, but based on what % of revenue tour operators agree to share with Govt.

News in focus is Dandeli river rafting. This was being handled by JLR earlier, but now handed over to private operators on a revenue sharing basis. Govt has fixed a fee of 1350 per head + tax, roughly 1500 INR. In this an operator has won the bid offering to pay 65% of income to Govt. This means the operator has to give 878 INR to Karnataka and has to operate the raft and make a profit within 472 INR per person. [Refer original news on DH]

Allgotrip, (https://www.allgotrip.coman Uttarakhand based company has offered to share as high as 65% revenue with Govt and hence has bagged the contract.

If you go by operator’s website, AllGoTrip charges 800 INR for 16 kms in Hrishikesh, just 300 to 400 INR for 7 to 9 km stretches of rafting. At this rate, they can operate Dandeli's Kali river’s 7 km stretch for less than 400 INR. But Karnataka govt charges 1350+ tax and keeps 65% of what customer pays & half the tax (other half goes to central govt)

Kali River rafting is offered in 3 types- short (1 to 2 km) lasts about 30 mins, mid range os about 5 kms/1 hour and longest is 7 to 7.5 kms lasting between 1 to 2 kms.

On an average about 150 people are arriving for rafting in Dandeli. That is 2 lakh rupees per day, could be 2x during weekends.

Out of 2 lakh daily income, 1.3 lakh goes to Karnataka Govt, operator will have 70k per day. In this money operator has to invest in rafts, pay staff, manage booking websites, pay commission to travel agents who would have got customers, provide transportation to customer from their resort to rafting point and rafting end point to resort.

For collecting 1.3 lakh rupee per day (5 crores per year) or two third of what tourists pay, would Govt commit to providing anything? No

  • Roads are pathetic in North Canara (the district where Dandeli falls)
  • No facilities like waiting rooms, toilets, first aid kids etc for people coming for rafting. You are on your own.

Clearly an operator who has promised to pay 65% to Govt and is forced to make a profit in 35% will find some shortcuts to outsmart the stakeholders and increase his earning

  • Rafting distance will mostly be cut short so that staff can do more trips per day
  • Lots of services which were so far included in the rafting fee could be made additionally chargeable. Transport from resort to rafting location etc increasing overall cost for tourists
  • Safety will be a concern if rafts are not maintained, untrained crew are hired
  • They will fight for monopoly. Anyone else trying to offer rafting at a lower rate will be chased away with Govt support.
  • Operator may be tempted to have another rafting service privately, where he doesn’t have to share 65% earning with Govt.

Operators who quoted to pay 50-55% revenue to Govt would have given better service to customers. But that is NOT a criteria for Govt of Karnataka. It is all about money.

Besides a share to Govt, tour operators who bring customers/online websites who facilitate rafting booking will have to be paid a commission- usually 10-20%, so that is anther 300 INR added to your overall spending, unless you deal directly with the operator. Websites like Thrilophila already bump up the price to announce massive discounts, even after which the price is higher.

Clearly rough days ahead for Dandeli rafting with both Govt and operator trying to outsmart each other and make more money. Ultimately the customer is the one who would be suffering or paying through the nose.

There is an allegation that the tourism minister is expecting a 40% bribe to approve the new contract. So the commission mafia is in place already. If an operator has to pay a bribe, he will find ways to cheat customers and recover his money.

I had a very bad experience with JLR several years ago when I availed their rafting in Kali river- we were abandoned in the forest for about an hour or more with no footwear, no place to sit, no water, nothing. May be I will try next rafting in Hrishikesh or abroad, where cost is much less compared to Karnataka.

Similar: Trekking to Kodachadri will cost upto 2700 INR per person. Won a Karnataka tourism contest but got nothing * Udupi travel guide * Karwar travel guide * Dandeli Jungle camp stay *


  1. Govt always tries to mint money from tourists instead of providing any good and affordable facilities. Hence it doesn't create an environment to encourage tourism.

    1. Yes. People have options. If they feel Karnataka is expensive and not worth, they will go elsewhere


Appreciate your efforts and interests to comment. Comments may be moderated due to increased spam. Will ideally respond to comments within few days.Use Anonymous option if you don't wish to leave your name/ID behind- Shrinidhi

Powered by Blogger.