Their photos were placed in Tamil Nadu Tourism pavilion

About 1,000 visitors to the pavilion put up by the Tamil Nadu Tourism at a recent international tourism fair in Berlin were floored by the picturesque Megamalai and the ruins of Alamparai Fort. Megamalai and Alamparai Fort were listed among the 20 lesser-known tourist spots in Tamil Nadu. The former is situated closer to Theni and the fort, about 20 km from Mudaliarkuppam. Currently, Megamalai receives 8,000 visitors and the fort, 25,000.

“Instead of marketing Udhagamandalam, Kodaikanal, Madurai and other places, we just placed the pictures of these spots in our pavilion at ‘ITB Berlin 2011,' and received tremendous response. The visitors were happy as we gave them brochures, CDs and pamphlets,” said Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) Managing Director A. Chittaranjan Mohandoss. ITB Berlin is the most sought-after convention where players from the travel industry from different parts of the globe converge to sell their services. This year, TTDC took up 22 sq.m of space from March 9 to 13 to create awareness about lesser known tourist spots.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Mohandoss said: “About 10,000 people, including individuals, tour operators, businessmen and hoteliers, walked into our pavilion, of which 1,000 were serious visitors and had personal interaction with us. It is a victory of sorts for us, as we are taking part in this mega event for the second time. We also made it a sweet one by offering Mysore pak and peanut ball.”

Some tour operators from Tamil Nadu said that they were pained to see that the organisers focussed largely on Kerala, Rajasthan and the Golden Triangle and there was no mention about other States. According to TTDC officials, Tamil Nadu pipped Kerala in attracting the highest number of foreign tourist arrivals in 2010. The new marketing effort would enable them to sustain the lead for years to come.