Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Friday made a strong case for promoting tourism in the State, saying that development of the industry would lead to economic growth and prosperity.
Inaugurating the 37th India Tourist and Industrial Fair at the Island Grounds, he said many countries were generating crores (of rupees) through tourism and Tamil Nadu should also adopt methods to promote tourism.
The Chief Minister also recalled how he prevailed upon former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to release greeting cards depicting Indian monuments on the lines of cards created in foreign countries to promote tourism.
Mr. Karunanidhi also stressed the need for developing a sense of history after visiting historical places.
“Don't just be content with your visit to Delhi or Hyderabad. What we have learnt during our visit is more important,” he said, adding the tourism fair should serve the purpose of becoming historical events telling the posterity about our culture and industrial growth.
Recalling the days when he used to visit Mamallapuram every week and his interaction with the sculptors, including Ganapathi Sthapathi, Mr. Karunanidhi said after the DMK came to power it was able to do a lot for the development of Mamallapuram as a town for sculpture industry.
Absence of Ministers
Expressing his displeasure over the absence of many State ministers in the inauguration, Mr. Karunanidhi quipped, “only those who visit the trade fair would be given an opportunity to continue in the Cabinet next time.”
Tourism Minister N. Suresh Rajan said the arrival of tourists to Tamil Nadu had marked 100 per cent increase since the DMK government came to power in 2006.
“The State holds third place when it comes to domestic tourism. As far as attracting foreign tourists and medical tourism, it remains first in the country,” Mr. Rajan added.
DMK MP T.K.S. Elangovan said the DMK had created employment opportunities by developing industries. It had also built infrastructure while fulfilling its commitment to implementing social welfare schemes.
Chennai Mayor M. Subramaniam said the wish of the Chief Minister that Chennai itself should be a tourist spot would be fulfilled with the fast-growing IT sector and automobile sector. He cited from Forbes magazine that had listed Chennai among 19 world cities witnessing fast growth.
For the first time, there is a separate stall for explaining the government schemes for the differently-abled. The environment-friendly fair is completely free from plastics. The entrance of the fair has been modelled after the famous Disneyland.
Tourism Secretary S.S. Jawahar and Managing Director of the TTDC A.C. Mohandas participated. The first prize for completing the stall went to the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services. Forest Department and Dairy Development Department won the second and third prizes respectively.