Tamil Nadu Tourism will focus on FAM (familiarisation), farm and palace and temple (PAT) tours with the objective of attracting more tourists into the State and making them to stay longer.
Though Tamil Nadu has large number of tourist attractions spots like its southern counterparts, the tourists prefer well known destinations, while skipping lesser known places. Hence, the department is making a conscious attempt to spread the tourists to different location to reduce the burden on places such as Kodaikanal, Udhagamandalam, Rameswaram and Madurai.
Currently, the State ranks second in number of foreign tourists arrival into the State and third in domestic arrivals. New initiatives are planned to top the list by providing more facilities to the pilgrims.
Last year, the State received 33.08 lakh foreign tourists against 28.04 lakh in the previous year.
Talking to The Hindu, a top official said that the average stay of 20 per cent of foreigners in Tamil Nadu was about eight to ten days, while those who visited under business and leisure categories stayed for three to four days. The idea was to prolong the stay of visitors for eight days.
“Usually foreigners planned two weeks of southern trip of which one week was set apart for Kerala. In the short duration, they visit Chennai, Kancheepuram, Mamallapuram, Puducherry, Tranquebar, Kumbakonam, Tiruchi, Madurai and Kanyakumari. Domestic tourists visited Yelagiri, Yercaud, Kolli hills, Kurangani, Megamalai and other places,” he said.
With a view to popularising lesser known places, FAM tours would be conducted for travel writers and tour operators.
Apart from availing the help of charter flight operators and cruise operators, the officials would take part in the World Travel Mart in London in November 2012 and International Tourism Bourse in March 2013.
Marketing meets are planned in Switzerland, Netherlands and France in co-ordination with Indian Tourism Development Corporation to highlight the State's potential through aggressive publicity and marketing campaigns.
“By participating in the previous editions of international travel shows, we were able to create awareness about places such as Tranquebar, Alamparai Fort and Megamalai,” said the official.
As part of its strategy to attract more number of domestic tourists, the department has started focusing on the unexplored areas in and around Pollachi and Thanjavur, where a large number of private farm houses have come up over the years to attract members of film fraternity.
The absence of polluting industries in Pollachi and Thanjavur is sufficient to attract tourists.
Last year, the State received 13.68 crore domestic tourists compared to 10.30 crore in the previous year. During this year, road shows will be held in Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, the official adds.