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Aug 3, 2008

Effor To Attract Tourism

Secretary to Government for Tourism and Culture V. Iraianbu (centre) handing over welfare board membership token to a folk artiste at a meeting held at the Collectorate in Coimbatore on Saturday. District Collector V. Palanikumar (left) is seen in the picture. The State Government was making efforts to attract more domestic and foreign tourists to the State by training tourist guides and drivers to be tourist friendly, said V. Iraianbu, Secretary to Government for Tourism and Culture here on Saturday.

He was talking to reporters after holding a review meeting and training session for auto, taxi and tourist cab drivers. The initiative was first launched at Chennai and Coimbatore is the 13th district. Drivers were trained to behave in a friendly and reasonable way with tourists. Language and communication skills of drivers were also being improved to help them interact better with the visitors . Such measures would help in making tourists feel secure and comfortable, he said.In Chennai City, drivers at Chennai Central, Egmore, Koyambedu and T. Nagar were trained.


The vehicles of these 39 drivers were designated as ‘Tourist Friendly Vehicles’ with a distinctive identity. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) had published the photographs, phone numbers of these drivers on the website besides bringing out a directory. Now, 30 more drivers have sought to become a part of the system. 18 such vehicles and drivers had been trained in Kanyakumari district. Rather than giving a distinctive identity to a section of drivers and vehicles, the Government was trying to rope in every vehicle and driver to become part of the concept.


In Coimbatore District, efforts were being made to tap the tourism potential of the region by developing Kovai Courtallam and Poondi Vellingiri Hills at an outlay of Rs 1.3 crore, to be followeded by a sum of Rs 36.09 lakhs for bringing in tourist friendly amenities.A proposal was under way to promote Eco-Tourism from Mudumalai to Coimbatore at an outlay of Rs 1 crore. A study was in progress for developing Valparai into a tourist attraction with all required amenities. Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation and the Department had identified 18 such places that attracted less tourists and private public partnership was being explored for developing these places into tourist spots. Under the scheme, the Government would extend 10 per cent as subsidy for capital investment, even for setting up heritage hotels and motels.


Towards tourist friendly measures, the Government had planned to turn 400 youths as tourist guides of which 180 had already been trained and given identity cards. In addition, the Government was contemplating on turning 50 retired teachers and government servants into tourist guides. Government would also consider extending such training programmes to scheduled tribes who live in fringes of the forest. Under the Rural Tourism promotion project, boating facility and two water scooters were introduced at Mudaliarkuppam near Chennai, a project that had evoked good response.


Similarly native tourism at Kadampadi near Kancheepuram was also getting a good response. District Collectors have been asked to identify potential in their districts and moot a proposal, he said. Earlier, Mr.Iraianbu along with Chairman of TTDC, Sanwat Ram, Managing Director of TTDC, M. Rajaraman and Collector V. Palanikumar conducted a training session for the drivers in Coimbatore.Earlier in the day, Mr.Iraianbu also had a meeting on roping-in folk artistes under the welfare board. The Government was ready to spend Rs 16 lakhs for the welfare measures.This was the only welfare board to have got 10,025 members in six months.

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