CHENNAI: Buoyed by the increasing number of domestic and international visitors flocking the State, the Tourism Department has introduced a slew of measures including a mobile app for tourists, and floating restaurants at Mamallapuram and Ooty.
Speaking in the Assembly on Wednesday, Tourism Minister ‘Vellamandi’ N Natarajan said the mobile app would keep tourists informed of important tourist centres, facilities offered and other details so that they can plan their trip well.
“The app will have information on the tourist spots in both audio and video format,” he said, adding an audio and video guide would also be prepared. About `50 lakh would be spent for both the projects, he said.
The floating restaurants will come up in Ooty and Mudaliyarkuppam near Mamallapuram in order to attract tourists. “The boat houses in Ooty and Mudaliyarkuppam have become popular. Floating restaurants would be a majot tourist attraction. So two such restaurants will come up at a cost of `35 lakh each,” Natarajan told the Assembly.
Meanwhile, the number of visitors to the State is continuing to go up, though marginally this time around. The footfall of overseas visitors has been on the rise since 2012 when 35.62 lakh visitors were recorded. In the subsequent years, it went up to 39.90 lakh foreigners in 2013, 46.58 lakh in 2014 and 46.85 lakh in 2015, according to the policy note of the Department of Tourism tabled in the House on Wednesday.
The figures of domestic tourists have also gone up in the last four years. From 1841.37 lakh domestic tourists in 2012, it went up to 2442.32 lakh in 2013, 3275.55 lakh in 2014 and 3334.59 lakh in 2015. Due to efforts including extensive marketing campaigns, targeted promotional strategies, and creation and upgradation of basic amenities and infrastructure, Tamil Nadu was ranked first in both domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in 2014 and 2015.
TTDC hotels to go solar
The department also plans to tap solar power to meet the electricity needs of 20 hotels run by the Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) at a cost of `4 crore, according to the Minister. Natarajan noted that solar power generation was already being done at the TTDC’s hotel in Kancheepuram.