Need for a proactive tourism office stressed
Though there is no data available on the number of tourists who come to Coimbatore every year, the scope to improve tourism is high in the district.
Coimbatore is a potential centre for meetings, exhibitions, conferences and events. A minimum number of large-scale events in this segment will bring more visitors to the city, says Erine Louis, General Manager of The Residency, Coimbatore.
The city has 1,200 rooms in the three and five-star hotels, and about 2,000 lodging rooms. It also has apartment hotels. The district has several tourism destinations in the Nature and religious circuits – Anaikatti, Anamalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Coonoor, Palani, Valparai and Thirumurthy Temple to name a few. It is the gateway to the Nilgiris and also to Kerala, he says.
Though the occupancy rates have improved in the hotels during the last few months, it still remains relatively low. Even in the peak seasons, the average occupancy rate is 80 per cent. Conservative market and power problems in the district are some of the challenges to the hospitality sector, according to sources in the sector.
A large number of tourists travel from Bangalore or from the south and central districts of Tamil Nadu to Kerala. Development of the Madukkarai-Walayar road will help the hospitality industry promote Coimbatore as a gateway to Kerala, especially for medical tourism. Small efforts such as coming out with an updated map of the district and having more flyovers and skywalks/subways will make the city attractive to its visitors and encourage them to explore the city.
The district is projected for its industrial strengths. Its traditional industries, products, and heritage should be promoted to improve tourism, says a hospitality sector representative. A proactive tourism office and involvement of the local community will go a long way in tourism development here.
For instance, if a major conference is planned in Coimbatore, then the organisers should have meetings with tour operators, cab owners, hotels, and local businesses so that the visitors get an opportunity to explore the city during their leisure hours. “Coimbatore should be promoted as a brand for tourism,” the representative says. President of the Coimbatore District Small Industries’ Association R. Ramachandran says that the association shares information on hotels, cab operators and tourism destinations in the district with the participants of the exhibitions that it organises.