Focus on education tourism in the Nilgiris

Many schools have contributed towards promoting tourism

Special occasions brought good business to hotels, Students tend to spend weekends outside hostels

Udhagamandalam: As it invariably happens after the end of every season in this holiday destination, this year too various sections of the society have embarked on a “stock taking” exercise to identify the highs and lows and plus points and shortcomings of the just concluded season.

It is not known whether anything worthwhile will come out of the exercise. However what is evident is that the number of persons sharing the regret that the district is yet to have the benefit of a proper plan for tourism promotion is on the rise.

This, it is hoped will bring all concerned together and pave the way for proper promotion of tourism.

It has been often pointed out by concerned citizens that the haphazard growth of tourism, if left unchecked will in due course do more harm than good for the district and its people. Tourism should not be taken for granted and different categories of tourists should not be treated alike.

While more and more people are underscoring the need to streamline and qualitatively improve the “one-day” or “overnight” tourism, an aspect of tourism which is being acknowledged by many in the travel and hospitality sectors as being a significant contributor to the economic well being of the Blue Mountains is Education Tourism.

Over the years, the contribution of many of the schools in the district towards promoting tourism has been significant.

Of late, a number of higher educational facilities have also started chipping in.

Over the decades, the contribution of many of the schools in the district towards promoting tourism has been significant, they say.

The Nilgiris, being a renowned place for school education, has been catering to the requirements of students from different parts of the country and the world. The periodical visit of parents and relatives of the children have done a world of good to the cause of tourism.

The Nilgiri Hotels and Restaurants Association (NHRA) Secretary N. Chandrashekar said that whenever leading schools celebrated special occasions like Founders Day, hotels and restaurants did good business at least for a couple of days.

Even during weekends when residential schools allowed their students to stay outside with their relatives, the hotels benefited. Such visitors accounted for about seven per cent of the annual turnover of some of the hotels.

The partner of a departmental shop, Pradeep Mohan said that about 50 per cent of his business came from such customers and if the flow was affected, many traders would find it difficult to survive.

An educationist Umar Farook said that generally four members of a family come to visit their children.

Since thousands of children are studying in residential schools here, the expenditure incurred during such visits add up to a great deal. Students and their parents are a source of regular income, said another businessman.

D. Radhakrishnan From THE HINDU

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