Chennai: With 3.66 crore visitors to Tamil Nadu and counting, Chennai has charmed visitors yet again in 2015 emerging as the top among 29 exotic destinations in the state and all-time favourite among the travellers — both domestic and foreign who visited TN last year.
Surprisingly, the popular international destination – Mamallapuram has attracted a mere 1.39 crore visitors in the year gone by. Interestingly, among the religious spots, which are dime a dozen, it is Rameswaram – associated with the Ramayana especially Ram Sethu, that is a favourite haunt.
Tourism is perhaps the only department that had hogged the international attention when it emerged at the first among the Indian states in attracting a total of 33,81,43,754 tourists including 33,34,59,047 domestic and 46,84,707 foreigners in 2015.
In 2014 Tamil Nadu tourism ranked first both in domestic (32.75 crore) and foreign (46.57 lakhs) by attracting 33.22 crore footfalls. The state’s well developed infrastructure with an excellent road and rail network, three major ports, 23 minor ports, and seven airports across the state providing excellent connectivity are among the factors that revved up the tourism activity in a big way, as per industry estimates. Sources in the tourism department say TN’s tourism industry is on the verge of becoming the first largest in India, with an annual growth rate of 16 per cent.
“It is the variety on a platter that attracts more visitors to our state. These diverse attractions could be seen in the form of religious spots, heritage locales, historical monuments, scenic spots besides hill stations, beaches, forests, bird sanctuaries, and leisure destinations. Tamil Nadu is also one of the leading destinations for medical tourism and wellness tourism,” a senior official of the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) says.
On an average the length of stay for a tourist in TN is five days for Indian and a week for a foreigner, as per a FICCI report. TN has advantage as a Mice (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions), destination due to its strong IT, healthcare, heavy engineering ecosystem and automobile industry. Good Mice infrastructure including 15 properties in the capital city alone including Chennai Trade Centre make the metro a hot destination.
“Chennai accounting or about 60 per cent of India’ s automotive exports and its expanding industrial activity on the fringes is attracting the Mice and leisure segments to the metro,” the official pointed out....