‘Taking all efforts to make TN more tourist-friendly’

The Tourism Destination Development Scheme was framed to promote and develop tourism destinations.
PIC: Martin Louis
PIC: Martin Louis

CHENNAI: Ensuring proper regulation of the tourism sector is top on the agenda of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department, says M Mathiventhan, Minister for Tourism, in an interaction with TNIE.

What are the important projects or schemes in the first year of the government?
The Tourism Destination Development Scheme was framed to promote and develop tourism destinations. A few locations will be selected each year to develop them into better tourist places with grants from the government. The scheme will also give jobs to local people, generate revenue for the tourism department through ticketing and other activities. This year, Kolli Hills, Jawadhu Hills and Yelagiri have been selected under the scheme. As boating rakes in money, we have plans to introduce it in dam sites such as Chittar one, Chittar two, Gundar and Kamarajar Sagar.

What are the steps taken to regulate the tourism sector?
As far as adventure tourism is concerned there are many operators and agents, but there are no proper guidelines from the government. Some agents and operators do surfing, paragliding and trekking but they are not registered and are unregulated. We have formulated guidelines to regulate all these, including caravan tourism, and a GO will be issued soon. The department will authenticate the operators and give them accreditation. This will also ensure that the government has a database of the operators and agents. We are also coming up with a new tourism policy, which will be released by the Chief Minister.

What is your vision for Tamil Nadu Tourism?
My vision is to make a tourist destination of every destination in the State, generate more employment and regulate all activities in the sector by framing guidelines. I also want to make Tamil Nadu a more tourist-friendly State.

What were your first initiatives to revive the sector after the pandemic?
The post-pandemic revival was a priority as the sector had incurred a huge loss. As part of innovative ideas, we released a song, tied up with 10 social media bloggers, and also changed the logo and tagline of the department. We also made some short videos and shared them on Tamil Nadu Tourism Department’s social media pages. We conducted a contest for amateur photographers. Winners of the contest were selected by a team of experts like Gautham Vasudev Menon and PC Sreeram.

What are the initiatives taken by the department to generate revenue?
Developing tourism destinations can generate revenue. We also welcome public-private partnerships (PPP). There are many unused locations controlled by the tourism department. They can be utilised by private parties for tourism activities and the revenue can be shared with the government. We are also planning to promote cruise tourism. Eco camping sites will also be set up in the forest and hilly areas. A GO has been issued in this regard. The Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation is also planning to re-brand its restaurants.

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