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World tourism day: TN awards 50 stakeholders to boost tourism

On World Tourism Day, September 27, the Tamil Nadu government, for the first time, will be honouring 50 stakeholders in 17 categories on Tuesday, including best five-star hotel, best restaurant, best tourist guide, best tourism district, best tourist destination and so on.

CHENNAI: On World Tourism Day, September 27, the Tamil Nadu government, for the first time, will be honouring 50 stakeholders in 17 categories on Tuesday, including best five-star hotel, best restaurant, best tourist guide, best tourism district, best tourist destination and so on.

“Upto now, there was no official recognition and awards given to tourism stakeholders by the government. But Tourism Development Minister M Mathiventhan made an announcement last year, due to which, the first edition of tourism awards will be given by the government,” explained Sandeep Nanduri, MD-Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC).

A few months back, TTDC called for open applications for the awards, and set up a jury that finalised the awardees. Besides awarding the stakeholders, Mathiventhan will also release 4 guidelines, including mandatory registration of various tourism related operators on the ‘Discover Tamil Nadu 2022’ event held in the city today.

Adventure tourism

To cater to young tourists, TTDC has come up with ideas such as new experiences like adventure, camping, caravan (where vehicles will be designed for the purpose of travel, leisure and accommodation), coastal and plantation tourism. “We’ve been aggressively promoting adventure and new experience tourism. TTDC is setting up 9 campsites in TN. We’re also promoting coastal tourism, as we have a coastline of approximately 1,076 km,” said a TTDC official.

TTDC is promoting surfing at Kovalam, while also inviting participants from across the world. And after the recent World Chess Olympiad, Mahabalipuram coast has become more popular than before. “Our coastline is well suited for adventure activities. Rameshwaram is excellent for water sports like snorkelling and scuba diving. Thoothukudi is good for kite surfing. But all this is yet to be popularised,” noted TTDC officials.

TTDC is going to train operators, lifeguards and give them licences and ultimately promote them. It’s also planning to promote infrastructure in beaches like Kovalam.

Experiential tourism

Subsequently, the department is planning plantation and farm tourism. “We’re attracting plantation tourism at locations like Megamalai of Theni district, Ooty, Pollachi and Kanniyakumari for those who thrive on such experiences,” said TTDC sources.

“We sent influencers on a 10-day tour to various known and unknown locations. Some focused on food and cuisines of the State. We’re flagging off the same programme this year too – with different set of locations and influencers – where different aspects of the State will be heighted, including food,” opined Sandeep.

The MD also confirmed that Pollachi balloon festival will be happening in January 2023, which was postponed after Omicron outbreak.

Average occupancy better in 2022 than 2019: TTDC

After the pandemic-induced lull, tourism gradually picked up steam last year. However, what surprised TTDC officials was the sharp spike in the number of tourists in 2022, especially in the last five months. “TTDC properties across the State saw a spike in average occupancy, even better than in 2019. All tourist places are doing around 95% occupancy, which is a good trend. Definitely, 2022 has been an excellent year for tourism, considering we were bouncing back after the pandemic-induced lockdown,” pointed out Sandeep.

New projects

  1. First edition of tourism awards starts this year

  2. Launching 4 tourism guidelines insisting mandatory registration and licencing

  3. Wow Tamil Nadu photography and videography will be launched for the second consecutive year

  4. Pollachi Balloon Festival in January 2023

  5. TTDC to promote surfing at Kovalam

  6. Plantation tourism Megamalai in Theni, Ooty, Pollachi and Kanniyakumari

Tourist footfall

  • In 2020, TN top State for domestic tourist visits, accounting to 23%

  • Total domestic tourist footfall increased from 33.3 crore in 2015 to 49.5 crore in 2019 – compound annual growth rate of 10%

  • In international tourism, TN occupies second spot for foreign tourist visits in 2020, accounting for 17.1%

  • Total international tourist footfall increased from 50 lakh in 2015 to 70 lakh in 2019

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