Much scope for Sri Lanka’s leisure sector in Puducherry - Indian State Minister | Sunday Observer

Much scope for Sri Lanka’s leisure sector in Puducherry - Indian State Minister

3 September, 2023
Chunnambar Boat House Pondicherry
Chunnambar Boat House Pondicherry

India’s Puducherry State is investing heavily on ICT and tourism sectors on a planned and focused manner and Sri Lankan hospitality sector too could reap benefits from this sector, said State Minister for Public Works, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Fisheries and Fishermen Welfare, Law, Information Technology, K. Lakshminarayanan.

He told Sunday Observer Business that tourism is the backbone for Puducherry, with nearly two million tourists visiting giving a significant boost to the local economy.

“Every weekend Pouducherry is flooded with domestic tourists mainly from Chennai and the neighboring states and it’s difficult to find a room,” he said.

However, I think Puducherry needs a good high end international brand and Sri Lankan brands such as Cinnamon, Aitkin Spence, Browns Leisure, Amaya should try to fill this vacuum.”

State Minister K. Lakshminarayanan

The Minister said that tourism is considered as an industry in the Puducherry state which permits them low electricity and other taxes. “Hence investors in the local tourism sector can enjoy reap financial benefits.”

He said that investments made in Puducherry state enjoy better investment conditions than most of the other states and this would be another plus point for Lankans hotel bands to look at investing in the state. He also said that there is an abundance of HR talent in the state as roughly, there are 80,000 engineers and around 8,000 pass out every year from about 30 colleges.

Many talented students leave the Union Territory for jobs, and this would become a social issue and with top international hotel brands entering Puducherry state we can retain this talent.”

Lakshminarayanan said the government was also increasingly aware of the consequences, especially on the traffic and solid waste management fronts, of witnessing such high volumes of visitors in a small town.

Tourism Minister K. Lakshminarayanan spoke with Sri Lankan State Minister of Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government Ashoka Priyantha, who was in Puducherry on a visit. The duo discussed many subjects of mutual interest including the fishing issue.

The discussions also focused on the Indo-Lanka Ferry service which is expected to commence this year.

Tourism Minister K. Lakshminarayanan said that as part of a larger ambition, Puducherry was pursuing the UNESCO World Heritage City tag, taking inspiration from Ahmedabad and Jaipur, he added.

The government has already introduced a policy on responsible tourism that balances economic and livelihood benefits with the preservation of heritage integrity and conservation of environment.

State Minister of Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and Local Government, Ashoka Priyantha with CEO, Inspiredge, a business development consultancy and an international relations specialist, Sumit Bothra at Auroville (a cluster of properties) in Pondicherry. 

Reiterating the government’s resolve to preserve the heritage of the town, he said the recent notification of 114 buildings as heritage structures was a step in this direction. “This process is continuing and we hope with local participation we will be able to bring more privately owned properties under the heritage classification,” he said.

Tourism minister K Lakshminarayanan, who holds the portfolio of information technology, said the government will implement e-office services within six months.

Puducherry (or Pondicherry), a French colonial settlement in India until 1954, is now a Union Territory town bounded by the southeastern Tamil Nadu state. Its French legacy is preserved in its French Quarter, with tree-lined streets, mustard-colored colonial villas and chic boutiques.”We still have French families living here in perfect harmony and this too is a great asset to our state.”

The government will initiate action to implement the detailed project report in the next financial year to meet the drinking water needs of people in urban and rural areas. The government has earmarked 380 crore for the project, he said.

 The government has also decided to direct installation of rainwater harvesting techniques in all government and private buildings including residential buildings to recharge ground water.

He also said that the state is also keen to liaise with Sri Lanka Tourism to exchange ideas and also explore more tourism travel between the two countries. The acceptance of the Indian rupee in Sri Lanka is highly appreciated by us.”

For seekers of spirituality, Puducherry is known for Aurobindo Ashram and Auroville attracting thousands of tourists to explore this beautiful city. For nature lovers too, Puducherry is a serene retreat replete with various beaches and lakes that takes the breath away of the tourists on the first glimpse.

“We also have a GST refund scheme for tourists and relaxed rules of entertainment (with late closing hours) is another plus factor to explore Puducherry,” the State Minister said.

He also said that the safety factor in Puducherry is also another plus point for both local and foreign tourists to visit the state. Asked if they have plans to develop the airport to international standards he answered in the negative. “Firstly the Chennai international airport is situated in close proximity and could drive from there to Puducherry in less than three hours. Instead we will be investing in the development of beaches and introducing more activities to them,” he said.