Interview with Tmt. V. Amudhavalli, director of tourism & managing director, TTDC
Highlighting heritage to attract tourists
In an interview with India & You Tmt. V. Amudhavalli, director of tourism & managing director, Tamilnadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) talks about how they are promoting Tamil Nadu as a heritage and cultural destination to attract more foreign tourists in the state.
How is the tourism industry doing in Tamil Nadu?
Tamil Nadu has been voted as the first tourist destination in India. For the past five years, it has been the No. 1 destination amongst the Indian states for domestic as well as foreign tourist arrivals. So as of now Tamil Nadu is a better known tourist destination for its rich cultural heritage, monumental values, beach tourism. It is a state which has different types of destination- we have hill stations, we have wildlife, we have beaches and we have water sports and adventure sports and of course the temple architecture. We also have the five UNESCO approved heritage sites.
Which segment are you promoting or focusing on this year?
See if you consider Top Resa, French or oriental tourists who are closer to the beach, for them we are highlighting the temple architecture and monumental values. They are not new to the beaches, and know pretty well about them. So here we talk about art, culture and heritage and also we have the connectivity of Puducherry which was once a French-occupied place. They can easily connect with the state of Tamil Nadu.
Is Tamil Nadu what they call the southern golden triangle? Are you working on that?
We need to delve into that. Actually golden triangle describes the Delhi-Jaipur-Agra triangle. So we can connect and frame more triangles like that and then promote it. We are also covering the entire Europe as a destination, so that we have more foreign arrivals. Also, Tamil Nadu is focusing on medical tourism. Chennai is one place known for best cost effective options available across the country. In India, Tamil Nadu can offer low-cost surgeries which we can facilitate and the people who are accompanying the patient can also stick around. We have thought of tourism promotion as well. While giving the treatment we are working on connecting the people with their concerned persons and also help them to look around. It is one area we can explore as we have a huge prospect in this.
What about ayurveda and yoga?
If we take Kerala into consideration Indian medicines have lot of treatment and rejuvenation centres as well as detoxification centres. Tamil Nadu too has a lot in this sector right now and we will be promoting it in the coming financial year in Mahabalipuram. We are working with a college of Indian medicines, that’s a government department. So we are planning for collaboration and in the next few months an immediate start of the centre in Mahabalipuram which is closer to Chennai.
Which are the countries you are focusing on for foreign tourists? What are your activities in the places?
Europe as a destination is something we can go for. We will be participating in the next upcoming foreign marts such as WTM London, ITB Berlin and others. We are planning to cover Spain and Europe as a whole and will be participating in all the trade shows like ITB, that is a big part of Tamil Nadu’s strategy.
One of the weaknesses of Indian states is that they touch base with the margin only once a year and that constant communication is absent. Do you plan to change this?
Yes, of course. You see tourism is one industry where you can’t shut all the doors and the visions. When you open up, you have enormous opportunities. It is not that only people from outside should come to our country. Our government has a corporation as well through which we want to have tie-ups with some other agencies which can facilitate the movement of tourists. It is not only the inflow of tourists, but those who are residing in Tamil Nadu as well who can go to other places so that building relations will be in a much healthier atmosphere and more and more people will come. We are looking forward towards building relations.
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