TN to give fresh impetus to tourism sector

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Chennai, Nov 25: The Tamil Nadu Government has decided to provide a new impetus for the growth of tourism sector in the state through a series of measures.

According to state Tourism Minister N Suresh Rajan, the measures included giving a facelift to rural tourism, promotion of lesser known tourist spots and focus on the welfare of folk artists.

Encouraged by the good start registered by 'medical tourism' and successful launching of 'eco-tourism mission', the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), with the support of Tourism and Culture Department, has embarked upon various ambitious tourism promotional projects, including promotion of rural tourism and provision of capital subsidy for tourism projects in lesser known tourist spots in the state.

He said Kadambadi and Punjarasangal in Kancheepuram district has been selected as part of the rural tourism promotion.

The two villages, as per the proposal, would be the exploratory grounds for the state Tourism Department's 'new rural tourism promotional concept'.

The specific features of the 'rural package tour' would include a traditional welcome, a bullock cart ride in the village, visits to exotic sites such as lakes, ponds, farms and temples. Oil massage, native cuisine, traditional folk art shows and village sports would give a warm welcome to the tourists, the minister added.

On the promotion of lesser known tourist spots, Mr Rajan said the government had allotted a 'huge' amount for Yelagiri, Chinna Suruli, Kovai, Courtalam, Kallanai and Kazhugumalai. ''Ten per cent of the total investment in the project, subject to the ceiling of Rs one crore, will be provided as incentive for implementing tourism projects in these areas,'' he said, adding that soft loans at an interest of 0.1 per cent per annum for the first five years, for the project's investors to pay sales tax, will be sanctioned which need, to be repaid to the government during the next five years.'' Amusement parks, restaurants, resorts, theme parks, golf clubs and boat houses were also been visualised to popularise these destinations in the years to come.

Mr Rajan said the government has formed a separate welfare board for folk artistes to encourage their endeavours and provide reasonable wages.

''About 1,000 indigent artistes has been newly enrolled under a pension scheme, apart from increasing their pension from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000,'' he added.

To make the tourists stay in Tamil Nadu for longer periods, night safari, butterly park, 'helicopter tourism' and 'cruise tourism' has been planned.

A 'hop-on hop-off tour' for Chennai city would also be introduced shortly, the Minister added.

UNI

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