Growth in domestic and international visitors to State growing at a rate of 22 per cent
CHENNAI: Tourism Minister N. Suresh Rajan on Sunday said the next phase of Tamil Nadu’s tourism campaign will focus on hard selling lesser-known destinations.
In his valedictory address at “Discover India-Enchanting Tourism,” a two-day travel and tourism promotion event hosted by The Hindu, the Minister said the first phase of the tourism drive launched by the government over two-and-a-half years had concentrated on developing basic infrastructure across well-known tourist spots. The various projects launched towards this end had either been completed or were nearing completion, he said.
Mr. Suresh Rajan said the growth in domestic and international visitors to Tamil Nadu was growing at a rate of 22 per cent, making tourism a key driver of economic progress. The number of domestic visitors during 2006-07 was 5.50 crore, while international visitors aggregated 17 lakh, he said. He complimented Tourism department officials for their concerted efforts in making Tamil Nadu a sought-after destination.
N. Murali, Managing Director, The Hindu, said India had firmly established a place on the world tourism map thanks to public-private partnerships.
Various types of tourism such as rural tourism and eco tourism had gained momentum in India based on a growing realisation that India had unmatched cultural diversity, Mr. Murali said. However, the rich diversity of its tourism potential ranging from temples and heritage to cultural diversity and architecture, had not been fully realised.
He urged various State Governments to work towards improving infrastructure in order to fully tap the country’s inherent tourism potential. He hoped that the travel and tourism show would become an annual feature.
Mr. Murali later distributed Tourism Awards to honour the contributions of various individuals in the Government and private sectors towards promoting tourism, travel and hospitality sectors.
The tourism awards were presented to K. Allaudin, Principal Secretary, Highways; C. P. Singh, Transport Commissioner; K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj; S. S. Jawahar, Madurai District Collector; Dharmendra Pratap Yadav, Vellore District Collector; C. M. K. Reddy, president, Tamil Nadu Medical Practitioners’ Association; M. Kumaresan, director, Medi Tour India Ltd; Sivakumar, CEO, World of Titan, Anna Nagar and Purasawakkam; Arun Azhalagappan, executive director, TI Cycles; S. Venu Srinivasan, managing director, TVS Ltd; Shanthi, social service organiser; Raja Hussain, NSS coordinator, University of Madras; M. P. Vasimalai, executive director, DHAN Foundation, Madurai; Subbha Reddy, managing director, Rain Tree Hotel; K. C. Tharyan, CEO, Residency Towers; M. Palanisamy, chief educational officer, Chennai and S. Sethurama Varma, chief education officer, Coimbatore; Pon Kumar, chief education officer, Erode and A. D. Padma Singh Isaac, chairman, Aachi Masala.
M. Rajaram, Tourism Commissioner, Sanwat Ram, Chairman, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and V. Irai Anbu, Principal Secretary, Tourism, participated in the valedictory session.