Lack of patronage led to scrapping of the tourism initiative, said officials

The hop-on, hop-off service begun by Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) in 2009 was recently suspended owing to lack of patronage.

The service, when it was commenced, had four 18-seater coaches that stopped at key tourist centres including Marundeeswarar temple, VGP, Mayajaal, MGM Dizzee World, Dakshinachitra, Muttukadu Boat House, Tiruvidanthai temple, Crocodile Bank, Dolphin City, Tiger Cave, Arjuna’s Penance, Five Rathas and Mamallapuram. Initially, the service did pretty well but eventually, lost patronage; hence, it was called off nearly six months ago, according to a TTDC official.

But there are daily services running to Mamallapuram covering these stops, the official said. The State Transport Corporation had also launched a city tour covering Fort St. George, Marina Beach, Parthasarathy temple, Guindy National Park and Birla Planetorium.

That too was discontinued within a year, he added. Instead, there would be three other tours — Mamallapuram to Mudhiliarkuppam, Vandalur to Lighthouse and Kona Falls (about 100 km from Chennai) to Periyapalayam Temple via Surutapalli Siva Temple, he said.

Tour operators said that services like the hop-on, hop-off must be revived and more destinations added.

“Apart from Marina Beach and Dakshinachitra, they should stop over at Armenian, St. Thomas Mount and Santhome churches and Kapaleeswarar and Parthasarathy Swami temples too. It would be even better if they extend the service to Kancheepuram and Pondicherry,” said Shivprasad, a tour operator who runs Travel Times (India) Pvt. Ltd in Chennai.

Maintenance of tourist spots should also be as per international standards to attract more tourists, said Vivek Gupta.

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