A couple of years ago, 2015-20 tourism policy was announced by the AP government to attract more investors and improve the completion speed of the projects in the pipeline. However, things are not really moving as per the plan. Thus, the state government is all set to introduce some changes to the existing policy to make it more investor friendly and favorable for quicker project completions.
Bhuma Akhila Priya Reddy, the Minister for Andhra Pradesh Tourism and Culture revealed this plan during the Regional Tourism Investors and Stake Holders Meet which was conducted by the AP Chambers of Commerce and Industry Federation. She revealed that the new changes would mainly focus on important issues like allocation of land, higher land costs, lease rents and incentives for quick and hassle free implementation of tourism infrastructure. She further added that the policy would be implemented for all the 13 districts of the state.
According to her, the regional meet was mainly held to offer a platform for the state and the investors to address their concerns and plans. It also gave the government a chance to give the stakeholders a clear picture of the potentials that AP holds in form of beaches, pilgrimages, eco-tourism, medical facilities, islands and inland waterways. There is no denying the fact that with the largest coastline after Gujarat, AP has all the potential that is needed for a proper tourism package.
The state government is planning to set up a resort cum theme park in the Madhurawada region of Visakhapatnam. The idea is to develop it on the same lines as Genting Islands of Malaysia. According to Bhuma Akhila Priya Reddy, the government has even chalked out a site spanning across 240 acres for the project.
Other than this the other major tourism projects that are being contemplated are creation of jetties near the ports, developing the Bhavani Islands, designing of 39 beach areas and enhancing village tourism. Reddy revealed an action plan will first be formulated to ensure that everything works out smoothly from the inception phase onwards.
In order to encourage beach tourism in AP, Bhuma Reddy recently had a meeting with the Union Minister for Tourism to stress on the necessity of the passing of the Bill for relaxation of rules of the coastal zones. During the visit, she also put forth an idea of setting up Tourism Finance Corporation’s headquarters for Southern India in Vijayawada, which would act as an exclusive financing body for tourism projects.
24 big events were planned by the State Government in order to improve the popularity of the tourism, culture and crafts of Andhra Pradesh within the state as well as outside it. Reddy, who led the delegation comprising of higher officials also held one-on-one meetings with interested investors to discuss about various tourism projects.
According to Mukesh Kumar Meena, the Secretary for Tourism, about 45 different MoUs were signed by the state’s tourism sector in the last couple of years, all of which together amounted to about INR 10300 crores. However, more than half of these were stalled. Thanks to the policy of Ease of Doing Business, a single window system is followed by the Department of Tourism, which makes it easier for it to process the proposals at a quicker pace. With 15 crore tourist footfalls, AP is the third best tourism centre of India and is growing at a steady pace of 15%. However, in order to further enhance its prospects, a lot of work has to be done like more number of hotel rooms, better resorts, great amenities and qualified personnel.
The CEO of the AP’s Economic Development Board, Mr. Krishna Kishore said that countries like USA, Singapore and Japan investing into the industrial sector of the state, the prospects for tourism are also brighter. What’s more, AP has a lot of potential to attract tourists, thanks to the presence of stunning spots like Pulicat Lake, Konaseema, Papikondalu, Araku Valley etc. Also, once the 1000 km road across the beach is developed, it would further encourage beach tourism in the state.