Special Correspondent

To set up infrastructure in less-known tourist spots

VELLORE: The State government has decided to provide 10 per cent capital subsidy, as an incentive, to entrepreneurs setting up tourist infrastructure such as hotels and lodges in less-known tourist spots in the State, to promote tourism, according to V. Irai Anbu, Secretary, Department of Tourism and Culture.

Talking to newspersons here on Thursday, Mr. Irai Anbu said the government would encourage the construction of heritage hotels and provision of toilet facilities in less-known tourist spots under this scheme. The government had also announced a deferral of sales tax for such projects. Yelagiri Hills in Vellore district was one such less-known hill station identified for promotion, he said. The government had decided to appoint tourist officers in Vellore, Tiruvannamalai, Coimbatore and Chettinad. It had also taken several measures to promote medical tourism in the State. The department had established a link in the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) office for patients who came to Chennai for treatment. Medi Tour India, a non-governmental organisation, had been entrusted with the task of establishing links between the Tourism Department and leading hospitals in the State to promote medical tourism. The attendants of patients could approach the TTDC desk to get details about tour packages and places of tourist interest.

The scheme would soon be extended to Vellore and Coimbatore, he said.

Mr. Irai Anbu said the Tourism Department had sanctioned a proposal for Rs. 5 crore submitted by Vellore Collector Dharmendra Pratap Yadav for the development of infrastructure for tourists visiting the Sripuram temple and the Amirthi forests near Vellore.

Other proposals of the Collector for tourist infrastructure development in Vellore district would also be considered. Work on the development of the Vellore fort is currently being carried on at the cost of Rs.90 lakh, an amount which was allotted in 2007-08. A sum of Rs. one lakh had been allotted for the establishment of a golf course in Yelagiri Hills, he said.

A total of 165 folk artists in Vellore district had joined the Artistes Welfare Board set up for their welfare. Mr. Irai Anbu distributed the membership cards to the folk artists at a camp organised at the Collectorate on Thursday morning.