We undertook its ‘10-days rail-cum-road tour’ starting November 21, 2009 from New Delhi and returning here on December 4. Most of the co-passengers were from and around Delhi. With some improvements, the tour could have been a memorable one for the rest of the life. Here are some suggestions. I wish Tamil Tourism takes it positively and seriously and implement it.
Facilities of Internet: Though some Tamil Tourism Hotels such as one at Mamallapuram or Thanjavur were having Internet facilities, on enquiry it was found as not working. In this era and when some or the other member of every family of the tour group remain on-line, the Internet is essential to keep in touch and for sharing ideas and experiences. Why can’t a developed state such Tamil Nadu and its tourism department provide this essential communication facility for social networking in its hotels? It can always outsource the facility to a private party if it can’t maintain it on its own.
Franchise restaurants: Some Tamil Nadu Hotel doesn’t have restaurants of its own. The worst experience was that at Tiruchirapalli. Tamil Nadu Tourism must have approved franchised restaurants or hotels on the way that must provide clean safe food for breakfast, lunch and tea and ensure to maintain clean toilets and washrooms for gents and ladies. It must cater at least snacks such as dosa, idli, upma, aloo paratha, and sandwitches of good quality at all time. How hotels worth any name can’t provide sandwiches in any place that the guide took us in the tour? Tamil Nadu Tourism must plan and specify the name of these hotels or restaurants in the tour plan provided. It should never leave it to sweet will of the guide who can be unscrupulous to dictate and decide the restaurant.
Alternatively, the Tamil Tourism must provide packed breakfast and lunch instead of using roadside hotels that may cause food poisoning as it happened with me. And Tamil Nadu government must create restrooms on the routes of its tour plans.
Language Training: Tamil Tourism must initiate a language training programme for all its employees as well as those working in restaurants. They must be conversant with both English and Hindi. It will go a long way in improving the national integrity. But the main intention is to make the client tourists feel at home and convenience. In some places, it was really difficult to carry on. One feels miserable in his own country. Even the accompanying guide must be trained one with good knowledge of the places and its history.
Transportation: Tamil Nadu Tourism would have used its own Volvo coaches for the tour. For a journey above 3-4 hours at stretches the commonly used buses tire the passengers badly. Naturally, it’s more so for elderly persons, particularly when the tour is of more that 3-4 days period. 10 days period was too long. It was highly undesirable for Tamil Tourism to use a private company bus that had not paid its taxes and that caused the passengers to get stranded for hours. Tamil Nadu Tourism would have checked all its documents well in time. Further, we had to change to Volvo coach while going from Kanchipuram to Tirupathi, as the bus had not paid Andhra Pradesh tax.
Tour Design: This tour must have an additional rest day at Kodaikanal dropping Tirchy all together. Sightseeing such as Bryant’s Park and the poorly maintained Lake was unnecessary and waste of time. Even Tirupathi could have been made optional.
Finally, I wish Tamil Tourism would have arranged an evening with typical cultural programme with South Indian dance and music to make the tour enchanting in real sense.