CHENNAI: There has been a considerable increase in the number of people visiting the Tourism and Trade Fair at Island Grounds this year.
According to the data available, about 44,800 people visited the fair on Pongal day this year against last year’s 41,225. Tourism Department officials said that people thronged the fair even on Maatu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal days.
This year, the department introduced two new attractions – adventure sports and a replica of ‘Amarnath Ice Lingam’ at the fair. Tourism Secretary V. Irai Anbu said that both were well received. Cultural programmes conducted every day at the Kalai Arangam in the fair also attracted huge crowds. Usually, about 50 persons could be seen in the Arangam, but it was packed the whole of last week, he said. Another attraction was the rural tourism pavilion, where a model of typical village life had been created. It included serving of beverages as in villages, ‘kili josiyam’ and models of various types of thatched houses. At the entry was a pair of bulls welcoming the visitors, where many people stood and posed for photographs.
The department had obtained permission to park visitors’ vehicles on the open ground opposite the Secretariat. The visitors were then taken to fair in ‘tourist-friendly’ autorickshaws, the officials said.
The profile of the visitors to the fair had also changed considerably. Earlier, those who wished to spend time with their children preferred to visit the fair. This year, people from all walks of life could be seen visiting the fair, the officials said.