To promote eco-tourism in the state the Tamil Nadu Wilderness Experiences Corporation, which is functioning under the forest and tourism departments, has joined hands with the DMK government.
The tourism sector in Tamil Nadu was facing immense pressure with many tour operators and those whose livelihood was dependent on the sector, shutting shop and scouting for new avenues following the lockdown after two successive waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Immediately after the DMK government allowed opening of markets and lifted Covid restrictions, the tourism and forest departments chalked out plans for promotion of eco-tourism on a large scale.
According to officials, the forest department has already identified five eco-tourism projects in the state and would be collaborating with the tourism department to streamline and execute these projects.
The idea, according to a forest department official, is to generate revenue for both the forest and tourism departments as the potential for trekking and eco-tourism is high in the country. Tamil Nadu has already opened up trekking albeit at a minimum level since the past 10 years.
While trekking and other eco-tourism and adventure tourism activities have commenced in the state, these were mainly confined to hill stations and the tourism department had not properly promoted them.
The state is trying to provide package eco-tourism programmes which include trekking, jungle safaris, guided tours, and adventure tours with the support of the forest and tourism departments.
Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, who is himself a fitness enthusiast, has given the go-ahead to promote eco-tourism, including trekking and adventure tourism.
A senior forest official, who is part of the DMK government's policymaking document, speaking to IANS said, "We have already convinced senior tourism department officials as well as our department heads that if infrastructure is proper, we will receive a lot of domestic and foreign tourists and this would be the beginning of a large number of foreign tourists coming to Tamil Nadu."
Arjun Anand, a professional in jungle tourism, told IANS "The coming together of forest and tourism departments is giving a safety factor to the tourists, especially if we are pitching in international markets. However, for the entry of foreign tourists in large numbers, we need proper campaigning among big tour operators and guides. As the government is promoting the package, there will be a sense of relief for foreign tourists as their security is being taken care of if the government is part of the package."