Chennai

Island Grounds to be developed as a year-round tourism hub

Untapped potential: The India Tourist and Industrial Trade Fair is held every year at Island Grounds.   | Photo Credit: RAGU R

Imagine being seated with friends, watching a musical night show, munching on some comfort food with a gentle sea breeze adding to the ambience, and all this in the heart of the city.

The Tourism Department has plans to redevelop the Island Grounds into a tourism hub and a consultant has been tasked with making a detailed project report.

Tourism Secretary B. Chandramohan said plans were afoot to make the 20-acre land a year-round event place.

“The city does not have a space where people can sit, dine and watch a performance. We will have exhibitions, car shows, performances, concerts and a food court. We have had an initial discussion and the concept is coming out really well. The design is under way,” he said.

Island Grounds is where the annual India Tourist and Industrial Trade Fair is held in December-January, which attracts large crowds. The sutrula porutkaatchi, as the exhibition is called in Tamil, is famous for its stalls showcasing government achievements, fair ground rides, and the famous Delhi pappad among other things. There is ample space to park vehicles.

N. Ravi, who was formerly with Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC), said this was a welcome idea and would bring revenue to the Corporation.

“Not everyone likes to go to malls since they are very expensive and are air-conditioned and with closed spaces. A permanent sale of handicrafts that the State is famous for too will be great. This could be on the lines of the Delhi Haat where artisans could make craft items. People can shop and relax too. Earlier, we used to have food fairs, flower shows and dog shows which used to attract crowds,” he said.

The Greater Chennai Corporation had passed a resolution a few years ago stating that world-class tourism infrastructure will be developed along the Cooum. Heritage buildings along the Cooum were supposed to be identified and restored to attract tourists. Proposals for a nature trail near College Road was made by the civic body.

Thiruvanmiyur resident Geetha Shanmugasundaram said that apart from the beaches, malls, cinemas, and restaurants, there was not much to do in the city. “The Chetpet park has a lot of space to walk around. People need to be involved in activities for which we do not need to spend much and at the same it should be entertaining and educative,” she added.


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Printable version | Oct 16, 2021 6:28:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/island-grounds-to-be-developed-as-a-year-round-tourism-hub/article36621476.ece

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