Conservation, Communities and Cultural & Environmental enrichment are the four pillars on which stands the very concept of Eco-tourism. This latest trend of tourism signifies responsible tour to nature-enriched areas that conserve the environment and brings about improvement of local people. It aims at having minimal impact on the environment and culture of the place visited, of which both the visitors and hosts have positive experiences. At the same time, it should add to the economy of the local people. Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu plays important role in this regard.
Located on the bank of the river Novval, Coimbatore provides easy connectivity to tourists who have objective of visiting hill stations such as Ooty, Kodaikanal, Kotagiri and Connor in Nilgiris. It has a airport at Peelamedu and a Air force base at Sulur. It is well connected to major cities and towns of India, by air, train and road. Hence, Coimbatore may also be considered as a centre for ‘connectivity tourism’ which every conscious tourist will like to avail.
Because of its advancement in textile industries, Coimbatore justifies its nick name of ‘Manchester of India’. Tourists prefer to buy by choosing from a wide range of silk products. Besides, there are a number of engineering firms and industries for manufacturing automobile spare parts. There are other tourist destinations of religious and natural significance. Therefore, a tourist to Coimbatore can ‘shoot three birds in one short’; namely, i) do business, ii) sight-see at Coimbatore and iii) travel to nearby tourist destinations.
The popularity of Coimbatore as a tourist destination could be judged from the 2010 statistical report submitted by the Tamil Nadu Tourism Department which shows that more than 32.31 lakh domestic tourists visited this city of diverse tourist interest.
Tourists can contribute to the cause of development of eco-tourism by visiting the waterfall at Koval Kutralam where more than 50 local tribal persons have got employment. Encouraged by this, another eco-tourism project has been implemented in Baralkadu near Pilloor, providing employment to more than 50 tribal people. This project yields annual revenue of rupees seventy lakh.
Because of its business significance and moderate temperature, Coimbatore could be visited at any time during the year. However, the best time to visit is during September to March.
A compact and most preferred itinerary to Coimbatore may include Kovai Kutralam, Aliyar Dam, Horticulture farms, hill stations of Valparai, the Theme Park of Black Thunder. Adventure tourists, intending for pumping out of their adrenalin can do their best by canoeing and kayaking at Sulur Lake, paragliding at Nilgiris, and climbing on rock at Parambikulam.
Coimbatore also attracts tourists of different religious interest to destinations such as Arulmigu Echanari Vinayakar Temple, Saibaba Temple, and Jain Temple at R.S.Puram, Carmel Prayer Tower, Koniamman Koil Temple and Immanuel Church.
Festivals of Coimbatore include Koniamman Car Festival and Natyanjali Festivals that satiate the religious fervor of tourists.
Besides enjoying vacations and leisure time at Coimbatore, tourists can contribute to the capacity building and employment opportunities for the local under-privileged people and add to the conservation of the bio-cultural diversity.