Thiruvananthapuram, June 8
AS part of its efforts to improve infrastructure in tourist destinations in the State, Kerala Tourism is chalking out a plan to upgrade facilities at important pilgrim spots.
The tourism department, in association with the temple, mosque or church management, will implement this scheme to improve basic amenities at pilgrimage centres, said a tourism official.
District level committees will supervise the operation and maintenance of the facilities set up under this scheme.
The Department of Tourism is also chalking out a project to develop `town squares' in important tourist destinations. The objective is to create high-quality public spaces in key destinations.
Public toilets, park areas, meeting areas and tourism information centres are some of the amenities to be created as part of this project, to be implemented in association with local government bodies.
Meanwhile, the tourism department has invited applications from private entrepreneurs for its `Vazhiyoram' project to provide basic amenities for travellers along important highways in the State. According to the guidelines of this scheme, 250 Vazhiyoram units will be set up across Kerala at an estimated Rs 61 crore. Of the total investment, the State Government will contribute Rs 13 crore, while the private sector is expected to invest the remaining Rs 48 crore.
Each Vazhiyoram unit will have a range of facilities and services such as restaurant, toilets, telephone booths, souvenir shops and ATMs.The units will be set up according to design specifications provided by the Department of Tourism.
Vazhiyoram operators will receive an incentive of 25 per cent of the construction cost, subject to a maximum of Rs 5 lakh. Units that implement pollution control measures and waste management practices will receive an additional incentive, subject to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh.
Kerala Tourism will also provide marketing and management support to Vazhiyoram operators through an `investor support cell'.