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More tourist-friendly autorickshaws

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A ‘tourist-friendly’ autorickshaw.
A ‘tourist-friendly’ autorickshaw.

Special Correspondent

TTDC to convert an 18-seater coach into a pavilion

Sculpture museum to be opened in Mamallapuram

CHENNAI: In a year’s time, tourist-friendly autorickshaws would ply throughout the State, Tourism Secretary V. Irai Anbu said here on Tuesday.

The tourist-friendly autos introduced in Chennai as part of a Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) initiative had evoked excellent response from domestic and foreign tourists, he told reporters.

Mobile tourism

“Currently we have 113 tourist-friendly autos operating in Chennai, 26 in Tiruchi, 20 in Thanjavur and 22 in Madurai. They will be introduced in Kanyakumari (18), Courtallam (28), Rameswaram (46), Chidambaram, Cuddalore, Tuticorin, Salem, Yercaud, Kancheepuram and Mamallapuram. Chennai will get another 147. Our aim is to have at least 1,000 such autos operating throughout the State,” he said.

The TTDC is all set to launch mobile tourism by converting one of its 18-seater coaches into a pavilion. It will ply to the rural areas to promote tourism and create awareness among the public about ongoing festivals. An open-air sculpture museum and a sculpture park will be inaugurated in Mamallapuram next month.

Adventure Sports Park

Next in line is the opening of Adventure Sports Park in the TTDC Beach Resort complex in Mamallapuram. “Following the resounding success of the light and sound show at the Mannar Tirumalai Naicker Mahal in Madurai, we will start a similar show at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari by January 2010. The HR&CE Department will take care of a light and sound show at the Madurai Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple,” he said.

TTDC hotels

TTDC Managing Director A. Chittaranjan Mohandoss said more boats would be purchased at a cost of Rs.80 lakh for various boathouses. An additional floor would be constructed at the TTDC hotels in Tiruchi (adding nine rooms) and Thanjavur (12 rooms) at a cost of Rs.1 crore each.

A hundred rooms would be upgraded during the year at the TTDC hotels in Hosur, Krishnagiri, Kanyakumari, Udhagamandalam, Tiruchendur and Rameswaram at a cost of Rs.2.76 crore; another 200 would be upgraded over the next two years.

The occupancy rate of the TTDC hotels went up from 50 per cent in 2005-2006 to 62 per cent in 2008-2009. The net profit increased from Rs.4.09 crore in March 2005 to Rs.10.17 crore in March 2009.

Mr. Mohandoss said the economic slowdown had only a small impact on business arrivals. The State witnessed nearly 31 per cent increase for the eight months period compared to the all India growth rate of 13 per cent: from January to August 2009, the TTDC received 5.81 crore tourists, including 21 lakh foreign tourists.

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