Within a few months after taking over the reins of the State, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa announced a seven-point strategy for promotion of tourism in the State. The new measures, announced on September 23, 2011 was just a curtain raiser to many more initiatives for the development of tourism in Tamil Nadu.
The seven strategies for the growth of tourism sector are: development of tourism parks, development of rural tourism clusters, integrated development of tourist destinations/circuits/cities, skill development, wayside amenities centres, Clean Toilet Campaign, promotion of heli-tourism, cruise tourism and the cable car project. The CM also called for an action taken report on this strategy. Within a short span of time, many projects for development of tourism under these seven heads have been completed.
On November 8, 2011, it was announced that Kolli hills and its surrounding areas would be made a eco-tourism spot and Rs 2.75 crore was allocated to improve the infrastructure facilities around the place.
The Chief Minister on December 18 earmarked Rs 500 crore for giving a boost to tourism prospects of the State. Two parks on the lines of Sentosa park in Singapore will be established at Chennai and Tiruchy at a total cost of Rs 50 crore. These parks will have special features to attract tourists and they will be developed as entertainment centres.
In January this year, Jayalalithaa announced that the vast wetland along Suseendram, Therur and Manakudikayal in Kanyakumari district will be declared as a bird sanctuary and that the area will be developed as a tourist spot. The CM allocated Rs 1.61 crore for undertaking developmental works in this area. The wetland is a biodiversity zone. Of the 90 species of birds coming to this place, 50 are from Arctic region. Apart from them, 25,000 wetland birds also visit this place.
The CM announced many measures for increasing the fauna and flora in Tamil Nadu on May 15 and said that a zoological park would be set up at 22.5 acres of land at Udayagiri in Kanyakumari district, at an expenditure of Rs 15 crore. It would house 26 species of animals, including spotted deer, sambar deer and ant eaters.
The Infrastructure Development Investment Programme for Tourism was approved by ADB as a Multi-tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for Tamil Nadu. The Investment Programme targets enhanced economic growth and provision of livelihood opportunities for local communities through tourism infrastructure development. The investment programme consists of five components - quality enhancement of natural and cultural attractions, urban infrastructure and service improvement, connectivity improvement and signages, community-based activities and capacity development, community participation and project management.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has formulated the Technical Assistance (TA) programme to enhance the capacities of tourism department and other associated implementing agencies in Tamil Nadu.