Destination Tamil Nadu

Destination Tamil Nadu

To develop the State into one of the most sought-after tourism spots in the world is the goal of the revival plan envisioned by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC)

CHENNAI: Tourism is one of the sectors in Tamil Nadu that was severely affected during the COVID-19 lockdown. Once normalcy was restored, the Tamil Nadu government drew a ‘Revival plan for Tourism Sector in Tamil Nadu after the lockdown of COVID-19’.

The Tamil Nadu State Planning Commission set a target for the Department of Tourism pertaining to this goal: “By 2030, devise and implement policies to promote sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products.”

Strategic plans

Sites are being set up at lesser-known destinations to promote niche segments like eco-tourism and adventure tourism. The objective is to create livelihood opportunities and improve the standard of living for local communities.

The destinations include the transformation and development of Kolli Hills (spread over Namakkal and Tiruchy), Jawadhu Hills (spread across parts of Vellore and Tiruvannamalai), Yelagiri, and Hogenakkal (Dharmapuri) and setting up of adventure and eco-camping sites at Pirapanvalasai (Ramanathapuram) and Mannavanur (Dindigul).

A senior official from the tourism department said that the State government also called for expression of interest from the empanelment of architecture and design consultancy firms for master planning and detailed project report preparation for tourism projects here. “The State government is in the process of framing a tourism policy that’d be a catalyst to transform the tourism industry to become a leading employer and driver of economic growth,” he pointed out.

The official also explained that the policy aims to confer industry status to tourism, and proposes strategic initiatives, incentives, and requisite regulatory reforms to facilitate private investment and participation in the tourism sector. “The policy would also strive to create a sustainable tourism ecosystem in Tamil Nadu and lays emphasis on providing a safe and high-quality experience for tourists and creating a confident and conducive environment for investment in tourism,” he said.

“Tamil Nadu has immense potential to be a tourist destination for both domestic and international tourists. The State government has evolved a dedicated policy to boost the toursim sector and this will in turn boost the local economy,” said B Chandramohan, secretary to government, Tourism and Hindu Religious Endowments Charities.

The development of the blue beach concept, cruise tourism and infrastructure boost to major TN temples are aimed at improving tourism. “Besides, the impetus will also be given for archaeological sites like Keezhadi and Mamallapuram as part of the regular tourism development works,” a top official added.

Involving youth in promotion

Accordingly, the department has published a list of skill development courses on the Tamil Nadu tourism website to equip youth with requisite skill sets in various tourism-related activities and benefit from employment opportunities in the sector. Under the ‘Tourism Hospitality Skill Development and Certification Programme’, the department has partnered with the TN Skill Development Corporation to promote courses to encourage students and industry stakeholders and facilitate enrolment.

The official said that a breakthrough campaign, titled ‘A to Z of Tamil Nadu Tourism’, a FB photography contest, was launched to celebrate the grandeur of lesser-known tourist places through the alphabet encyclopaedia of Tamil Nadu Tourism. Social media users actively shared photos of lesser-known tourist spots in different districts of Tamil Nadu starting with the ‘Alphabet of the Day’.

There’s a virtual 3D tours of major tourist destinations by incorporating emerging technologies like Virtual Reality and 3D mapping. VR tours have been developed for the 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites in TN and other important tourist destinations like Pichavaram, Senji Fort, and Kailasanathar Temple.

Luring international market

To establish Tamil Nadu as a major tourism hub in the international arena, various programmes are being conducted in the UK.

Recently, Minister for Tourism M Mathiventhan inaugurated the Tamil Nadu Tourism pavilion in the World Travel Market 2022, held at the International Conference Centre in London.

On behalf of the department, artefacts showcasing the rich tradition and culture of Tamil Nadu were on display at the pavilion. Several entrepreneurs of the State such as hotel and restaurant operators, tour operators, and plantation tourism organisations visited the pavilion.

The department conducted a road show in London and also in Northern Ireland. Officials participated in the programmes organised by Tamil associations in London and highlighted the tourist attractions of the State.

Similarly, a roadshow was organised in Scotland, which also included a presentation to tour operators, travel agents, and local association members. It elaborated on various tourism destinations in the State and tour packages available with TTDC. The potential for partnership for promoting tourism in TN was discussed with the representatives from Scotland and across the country.

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