The Tamil Nadu Tourism Department has identified revenue land close to forests in 10 districts for glamping and adventure sports, Tourism Minister M. Mathiventhan said here on Friday.
A government order has been issued recently for acquiring 3-5 acres at Mannavanur in Kodaikanal for ₹2.75 crore-₹3 crore and a same amount of land in the Kolli Hills. The land transfer process in 10 districts across the State is under way; thereafter, glamping, trekking, eco-camping and adventure sports will be started, Mr. Mathiventhan told The Hindu.
According to him, the Water Resources Department permitted development of sites near certain dams and waterbodies — namely, Pichavaram, Hogenakkal, Poondi, Anaikattu and Kamaraj Sagar Dam — for boating.
“The Detailed Project Report is being prepared under the Tamil Nadu Tourism Destination Scheme and roughly ₹30 crores has been sanctioned by the government for the scheme,” he said.
There was a delay in the preparation of the Detailed Project Report because this scheme is the first of its kind and on account of the pandemic. Work would start shortly, he said.
Recently, guidelines were issued for eco-camping and homestay. Now the Department was focussing on streamlining and engaging private agencies and operators, he said.
The Minister said the Department of tourism drafted many private players to generate revenue. “But we do not know how many agencies or operators are there. So we are planning to get them registered with the Department. They will be categorised on the basis of their performance, and the best ones can be displayed on the website.”
“In future, if the government wants to start initiatives in districts, we can collaborate with such private parties,” he added.
He said that prior to the 44th Chess Olympiad held in Chennai in July, several tourist guides were trained for 50 days in engaging visitors with proper information on the city. “We are planning to conduct such programmes annually for guides in the State by collaborating with various agencies and institutions.”
Mr. Mathiventhan said the Department was planning to revive the Tamil Nadu International Balloon Festival in Pollachi. The eighth hot-air balloon festival, which started in 2015, was postponed in February this year owing the pandemic restrictions.
“We will ask 5-10 players from foreign nations and go on rides from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and ideal timings in the evening,” he said.