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Wednesday, Jan 12, 2005

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TN bid to get tsunami-hit tourism back on track

Our Bureau

Chennai , Jan. 11

THE Tamil Nadu Tourism Department has drawn up an action plan to restore traveller confidence in the State.

Since the economies of the some of the affected areas such as Velankanni, Kanyakumari and Mahabalipuram depend on tourists, it is important that tourism is revived. The livelihood of small shops, fisher folk, artisans and sculptors is dependent on the tourists, sources said.

One of the measures taken by the Government to restore the confidence of the people is to restart the Mamallapuram Dance Festival, which was suspended after the tsunami. The dance festival, which was restarted on popular demand from both domestic and foreign tourists, began on January 7 and will continue until the end of the month.

Twenty of the 50 seaside cottages belonging to the Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation (TTDC) at Mahabalipuram, which were damaged by the tsunami, will be ready for occupation by the end of the month. The boat jetties at Muthukadu and Mudaliarkuppam were also damaged and will be repaired soon. The total loss to TTDC has been estimated to about Rs 4 crore, sources said.

The Poompuhar Shipping Corporation is repairing the boat jetty at Kanyakumari, which was damaged, sources said.

Government sources said that in Mahabalipuram many of the resorts have started functioning again as the main buildings were not damaged by the tidal waves.

After the initial exodus, some of the tourists have come back while others are staying in city hotels and visiting the resorts, they said.

Tourists have also moved inland to places of tourism interest such as Madurai, Chettinad, Chidambaram, Gangaikondacholapuram and Rameshwaram, which were not affected by the tsunami.

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