PUDUCHERRY: It is time for fun, frolic and rake in the moolah with the old French town of Puducherry brimming with tourists as the year is drawing to an end. Not only are the tourists enjoying with the sea, but equally delighted are the government, trade and business community, hotels, as well as travel operators, taxi and autorickshaw drivers. After several months of lull, good revenue is flowing in for everyone. Even small vendors have lined up on the beach to catch and interact in various languages, trying to impress the tourists. The arrival of tourists seen at present including both domestic and foreign could be even more than the last year. “This year, we are expecting an increase in tourist arrivals by 11 to 12 per cent over the last year,” said Munussamy, director of Tourism.
The hotels and guest houses are packed, not only in Puducherry but also on the East Coast Road close to Puducherry. The bookings are full till January 3, said K Amarnath, vice- president of a leading hotel.
Some of the tourists are also housed with their relatives and paying guest facilities. If the connectivity between Bangaluru and Puducherry improves, there would be a significant increase in the tourist flow, said Amarnath. Once the work on the 100-km stretch of highway between Krishnagiri and Thiruvannamalai gets completed, Puducherry would have tourists round the year, he said. The heavy flow of tourists would not be confined to the year-end from Christmas to New Year, but all-year round.
However, there is heavy pressure on infrastructure, particularly the roads, which have become difficult to navigate in the evenings. Vehicles line up almost on every street on the boulevard, leading to congestion. The beach road and the roads close to the beach are the ones facing maximum difficulties. In case of an emergency, it would be difficult to reach out, said traffic inspector Maran.
To decongest the road, the traffic police have arranged a parking area on the Old Port premises at the end of the beach road. More than 200 vehicles can be parked in this area. Hoardings, informing the people about it, have been put up at six different places near the beach. Announcements would also be made in several other languages for the benefit of the tourists, he said.
The police are also planning to close the beach road to traffic earlier than the usual time of 6 pm, on account of heavy flow of people on the beach promenade, said Maran.