Tamil Nadu tourism has been recording consistent growth year after year and had become a model for other States, Tourism Minister N. Suresh Rajan said on Sunday.

Inaugurating the The Hindu Discover India/World Enchanting Tourism 2009, a two-day travel and trade expo in connection with World Tourism Day, Mr. Rajan said the States tourism strategy focused on developing lesser known places alongside mega destinations.

The Minister said the tourism departments sustained efforts in association with various departments had led to the development of tourist infrastructure at all centres of attraction.

V. Irai Anbu, Tourism Secretary, said the tourism campaign was shaped by the coordinated efforts of urban and rural local bodies and various government departments.

N. Murali, Managing Director, The Hindu, stressed the importance of making tourism development inclusive by ensuring livelihood security of the local communities at tourist sites. There needs to be a fine balance between tourism promotion and ecology preservation, and tradition and modernity, he said.

A. C. Mohandas, Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation was also present.

Mr. Murali later presented awards to persons and stakeholders who had outstanding contributions to Tamil Nadu tourism.

The recipients (some of whom could not make it to the function) were K. Ashok Vardhan Shetty, Principal Secretary, Rural Department and Panchayat Raj, Debendranath Sarangi, Principal Secretary, Environment and Forest, N. S. Palaniappan, Principal Secretary, Revenue, S. Machendranathan, Transport Commissioner, Niranjan Mardi, Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply department, Antony Ashok Kumar, SRM Group of Institutions, K. C. Tharayan, CEO, The Residency Towers, the Banana Merchants Association, Kishore Kumar, Correspondent, St. Johns Schools of Institutions and the Indian Institute of Hotel Management and Catering Technology, Chennai.

Several State Tourism Boards and leading travel and tourism agencies are participating in the event.

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