“I was planning to open a heritage hotel in Thoothukudi district but it got delayed. Thoothukudi has a lot to offer for tourists and heritage lovers. I am confident that things will be back to normal and tourism will pick up from where it was left off. We have to be patient for that. In the meanwhile, as histori-ans, we can do virtual heritage walks, online sessions, webinars, etc, to stay in touch with enthusiasts. That said, virtual platforms have certain limitations. When you are engaging with the audience online, you are only using the sense of sight and the sense of hearing. That itself is a limitation. We are stuck at home and one can make use of the extra time. If you are interested in learning about heritage and culture, you can be part of the webinars or virtual walks. This will give you an idea of our heritage and will make you want to visit the place,” says Pradeep.
The historian points out that avid travellers and heritage lovers are waiting for things to be back to normal. “Mystical Palmyra tours that I used to organise were deeply immersive - not just heritage of the place, we also focussed on local food, music and crafts. Such heritage tours are a great experience for both organisers and participants. For tourism to be a complete experience, one should taste the local cuisine and engage with locals,” he shares.
Historian Chithra Madhavan says that the only thing we can do now is sustaining tourism virtually. “That is the only via-ble option for a couple more months. But virtual events come with their limitations. Giving online lectures has become a huge strain. Virtual space can never compensate for physical events. But through virtual sessions and walks, we can keep up the spirit of enthusiasts. The best part of going virtual is that we can connect with a very large audience who might otherwise not have known about the treasures in India. Online sessions could plant a seed in a tourist’s mind and later they can travel to this part of the country,” says Chithra.