Yercaud witnesses a tourist boom

YERCAUD: This summer the hill station of Yercaud is witnessing a boom in tourist flow after a lull of two years.

The flow of tourists from Karnataka, the mainstay of the hill station’s economy, and from its other major source, Kerala, has started showing a healthy upward trend this year and hoteliers and others connected with the tourism industry are a happy lot. As the Karnataka tourists stay for a minimum of three to four days to enjoy the salubrious climate, occupancy in hotels has now touched 100 per cent during weekends and nearly 90 per cent on week days. So do the allied industries, which are also buoyant.

The raging row over the Hogenekkal Drinking Water Project between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and recession in IT industry had hit tourism in this hill station very hard for two consequent years – 2008 and 2009. The number of tourists from Karnataka, especially Bangalore, had gone down substantially.

Yercaud during those two years wore a haunted look. Missing were the youngsters working in IT giants, their trendy sedans and roaring sporty bikes. Only 25 per cent of the rooms were booked in those two years.

“The years of despair have gone. The industry suffered a heavy loss then,” recollects a leading hotelier who fondly hopes to cash in on the revival of the tourism industry this year. He has heavily invested atop the hills on nearly 600 rooms with tariff ranging from Rs. 800 to Rs. 12,000 a day during the peak season.

Many have started promoting eco tourism with resorts amid high trees and green coffee plantations. An official in Tamil Nadu Tourism Development Corporation, which operates boats in the picturesque Yercaud lake, says tourists are even encouraged to plant saplings around the lake. The district administration, which is planning to hold Summer Festival during the third week of May, is optimistic of breaking this year the previous records of tourist arrival.

R. Ilangovan From THE HINDU

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