Cerebral Shangrila

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

TN tourism to promote less exotic locales

Though we have lagged our N.Indian counterparts in Infrastructure development and marketing, TN tourism still holds a lot of promise. Though Indian tourism has increased its marketing spend and visibility, the infrastructure still needs a lot of improvement. As someone who has travelled a lot around TN ,I have been lucky to have visited most mentioned destinations, I have seen from upclose the beauty of our architechture,tradition and nature's tranquility.

Some basics we (Indian tourism) need to do :

1. Avoid the discrimination and over-charging of foreign tourists ( At Agra, the foreigner pays Rs.750 whereas we Indians pay Rs.20 , where is the "Athithi Devo Bhava" ? )

2.Upgrade the Infrastructure ( Airports,Roads,Trains,Water) -- We are doing it but I see pockets of great infrastructure and places of extreme apathy.

3. Helpline/ Hotline -- Am not sure if we have it already. But there should be a 24 hour tourist helpline/hotline to aid the tourists once they land in India.

4. A better attitude towards environment and civic hygiene.

5. A much more reponsive and pro-active tourism board. The "Incredible India" has served as a wonderful marketing campaign but a lot needs to be done once the tourists arrive .

Let's make things better .

The Week reports about the facelift the lesser known locales in TN are about to get. " Tourism in Tamil Nadu, among both the foreign and Indian nationals have always meant Kodaikanal, Udhagamandalam and Mahabalipuram. But, ambitious plans are afoot for making a concerted effort to develop lesser known tourist attractions here, which include hill stations, waterfalls, historical monuments and temples, highly placed sources in the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department said.

An illustrative list of tourist spots released by the tourism department, which are in the pipeline to experience a face lift soon, includes Yercaud, Elagiri, Courtralam, Hogenakkal, Tranquebar, Pulicat, Pitchavaram, Chithanavasal, Karaikudi and Manora. A survey conducted in 2004 ranked Tamil Nadu as the second major tourism avenue for people from abroad, with the inflow of foreign tourists touching an all time high of 11.79 lakh in 2005 as against 8.05 lakh in 2002. New spiritual destinations will be given top priority, with centres of Jainism like Chithanavasal, Kudumianmalai, Melsithamur and Kazhugumalai, being identified for the thrust. The 'Navagraha' tour operated by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation to temples, which are believed to ward off evil, is already making roaring business, sources say. Pitchavaram, one of the healthiest mangrove reserve, the backwaters of which hold potential for canoeing, kayak and rowing, will be developed with all basic amenities without disturbing the environmental restrictions. The Department will look at the possibility of engaging the Public Private Partnership model for creating facilities like tourist accommodation, increasing infrastructure like roads and water supply and introducing new holiday attractions.

The main idea is to create an awareness among the both segments of the tourists about these places and this will be accomplished through an extensive publicity campaign, a senior tourism official said. Promotion of such less popular tourist spots is also expected to generate more employment for the local population, he said."


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