The Tamil Nadu government will set up a high-level committee of experts to work out revival plans for the tourism sector that is facing the doldrums following the first and second waves of the COVID pandemic, a statement said on Friday.
The statement from state Tourism Minister's office said that Minister M. Mathiventhan, who chaired a meeting at the Tourism Department headquarters here on Thursday, decided that the high-level committee will identify ways that will lead to generation of revenue, create new jobs, and earn foreign exchange for the state.
It will also chalk out measures to ensure the safety of those who travel to the state by putting in place standard COVID-19 protocols.
Talking to IANS, K Raghavan, who had been in the field for 30 years, said: "Tamil Nadu tourism was doing extremely good following meticulous plans of successive governments to promote the sector and it was providing good revenue for the state exchequer but the pandemic has given a body blow to the sector.
"It is good that the minister has called up such a meeting to constitute a committee to find ways for the revival of the sector which is indeed a right step in the right direction. Already Gujarat and Karnataka have classified the sector as an industry and we are expecting something of a similar nature from the TN government also."
The tourism sector is expecting a one-year moratorium from payment of property tax as Gujarat has already provided relaxation to hotels, restaurants, water parks and resorts on this count. It has also exempted fixed electricity charges for the sector and only actual electricity bills need to be paid.
KR Vinoth Chandran, a tourism operative in Dindugal, said, "the tourism sector of our state has been generating huge revenue and the minister must act proactively for the sector. Otherwise, this sector, that had earned a good reputation and huge money for the state, will not prosper again."
Along with hotels and restaurants, the pandemic affected tourist taxis, travel agencies, truck drivers, guides, and even autorickshaw drivers.