Mamallapuram’s lure endures

The Modi-Xi charm has not abated: tourists are flocking to Mamallapuram, the police say, and travel agents are reporting an increase in inquiries for the historical spot.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister told him of increased tourist arrivals after the informal summit held with the Chinese President Xi Jinping last week. “Lot of people are coming to visit the iconic place. I would urge people from the world of creativity to think about ensuring more tourists come to India,” the tweet said.

The Kancheepuram police said the Sunday following the summit saw around 1.5 lakh visitors to Mamallapuram, a three-fold increase over the usual 50,000 or so on a weekend. Even weekdays have not stopped visitors: over 30,000 people are flocking to the town, a significant increase over usual numbers, and over one lakh are expected on Sunday, a senior police officer said. Many are visiting the monuments that the dignitaries went to, he said.

“We are adding more CCTV cameras and upgrading our police station with more manpower. We are adding more parking lots to better address the needs of the tourists,” he said.

Anbu, a fisherman, said though he was happy to see so many people visiting the town after the Prime Minister’s visit, he was worried about keeping the place clean. “We hope the municipality and tourists preserve the cleanliness,” he said.

Charanya Ramesh, CEO, Shakthi Tours and Travels, said there has been a buzz in the country since the summit and more people have been inquiring about travelling to Mamallapuram, especially from the North.

‘Increase in awareness’

“I think the summit increased awareness about the place. We have seen a 20% or so rise in inquiries,” she said.

Venkatraman Suresh, senior manager, Akshaya India Tours and Travel, said inquiries have picked up. Shanmugapriya Thyagarajan, joint managing director, Embassy Travels, said more facilities such as mid-range hotels would be welcome.

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