The Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department has indicated a strong focus on improving its infrastructure and services in the tourism sector and museums. It has also said it would hold a number of cultural festivals and awareness drives aimed at protecting Tamil culture, tradition and heritage.
These were among the announcements made in the Assembly on Thursday by Tourism Minister P Chendur Pandian and School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare Minister Vaigaichelvan, who also holds charge of Archaeology and Tamil Culture Departments.
The announcements came as part of the demand for grants for the recently reorganised Tourism, Culture and Religious Endowments Department.
Chendur Pandian announced a major overhaul of the infrastructure and facilities in the Tamil Nadu Hotels run by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC). These included purchase of cots mattresses, furniture, generators, lifts and kitchen equipment, at a total cost of Rs 3.92 crore. He also announced the supply of drinking water, sanitation and other facilities at 14 major places of worship at a cost of Rs 10.58 crore, and that the government would set up touch screen kiosks across the State to provide information of various tourism spots and tourism-related topics in Tamil Nadu. He also said guides, service staff at tourist establishments and travel agents would be trained by universities, museums and archaeologists to improve their interactions with tourists. Thanjavur and Thiruvannamali got their own heritage dance festival, on the lines of the Mahabalipuram fest.
Vaigaichelvan on the other hand announced a number of steps to improve the infrastructure, facilities and scope of the seven music, fine arts and architecture & sculpture colleges run by the Arts & Culture Department. These ranged from the introduction of new programmes of study, computer labs and the appointment of music experts as honorary professors.
He also announced that the government would set up an advisory board comprised of experts to foster growth and development of fine arts colleges. The board would also deal with a number of aspects such as adaptation to meet contemporary requirements, encouragement of research and regularisation and improvement of academics.
Vaigaichelvan also announced that installations of local Stone Age animals and humans would be installed at the site museum at Poondi, while that eight other site museums would get handheld electronic ticket machines.