Olympiad draws tourists to resort, small business stalls business – The New Indian Express

express news service

CHENNAI: One would think that the streets of Mamallapuram must be thronging with chess enthusiasts and tourists as the ancient port city hosts the 44th International Chess Olympiad. But when TNIE visited the tourist city on Saturday, it looked nothing like the weekend. The streets were deserted and the hotels were empty, without hordes of regular tourists. All the crowd seemed to be concentrating on the venue and the resorts around it.

“All the visitors are here for the Olympiad. They go straight to the venue, which has food stalls and other facilities. So, no one is coming to the city and local businesses as they usually do,” said K Vinod, who sells stone artifacts in Mamallapuram.

Some traders blamed the circular sent before the incident. “We have got the circular that the shops should be closed till the Olympiad is over. However, the notice was withdrawn keeping in view the welfare of the trader. But, the public does not know this. Usually we get at least 200 customers daily. Today, we got only 25 customers,” said K Thiru, owner of a beachside eatery. In anticipation of the crowd, especially from overseas, restaurant workers were wearing gloves, masks and head covers.

However, all the upscale resorts were booked by representatives and visitors. “We are getting inquiries regarding several calls, but we have booked till August 10. Most of the major hotels in the area have been booked. It was a much-needed relief after the loss during Covid,” said the owner of a resort on ECR.
Traders are hopeful that by next week the tourist crowd will return to normal.

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