With plans to transform Amaravati into a capital attracting international tourists, the state government is mulling setting up a ‘Monastery Boulevard’ in the capital region where Buddhists from countries across the world can build their monasteries similar to Bodh Gaya in Bihar.
During a review meeting on tourism today at Secretariat, the Chief Minister Shri N Chandrababu Naidu was informed that 13 heritage tourism spots have been identified and will be developed. Further, the tourism officials have identified Kakinada-Hope Island-Coringa Sanctuary-Konaseema as a circuit for development.
The focus of this circuit will be Godavari backwaters, house boats, mangrove forest, beaches and local cuisine, arts and culture. As part of this circuit, the 2,000 hectare Mangrove forest of Coringa will be developed into eco-sanctuary zone. The Mangrove Forest here is the second largest in India after the Sunderbans and is the only Mangrove Forest on the East Coast.
This circuit will envisage a passenger terminal with jetty, Water Sports, Marine/Water Park, Maritime Museum, Sea-plane rides, home-stay facility and convention centre. “We can have 5-6 passenger terminals with jetty across the state. E-rickshaws can be introduced to ferry passengers around the tourism spots,” the Chief Minister added.
Stating that most of these projects could be given on PPP basis, the Chief Minister added that a cruise ride from Rajahmundry to Papikondalu (through a tunnel) could be introduced.
To give a major boost to tourism in Godavari districts, the government is working on the “Akhanda Godavari” project. “From Godavari’s scenic beauty to food and locally-made products like Ratnam Pens, everything has to be branded and promoted,” the Chief Minister said, suggesting that Rajahmundry could become the hub of activity of both the districts.
Focusing on the coastal tourism circuit at Nellore, the government has identified 10 tourism projects such as Pulicat Lake, Nelapattu Bird Sanctuary, Udayagiri Fort including few beaches.
During the meeting, the Chief Minister also suggested officials to work on a plan to set up resorts and entertainment arenas which are not vulnerable to natural disasters. “Tourists’ safety is of utmost priority to us. For this, we need to install every cab with a GPS tracker. We should have information about every tourist. To ferry passengers in cabs, we can talk to cab companies and make it mandatory to install GPS trackers,” the Chief Minister said.
Emphasizing on creating a tourism circuit including all forts in the state, the Chief Minister asked the department to chalk out a plan and a package.
He also directed officials to instruct all home science colleges to research on food and how our cuisine can be mixed with other cuisines from across the world. This will not only generate interest among tourists about the local cuisine but also give them a new look at their own cuisines,” the Chief Minister said.
“Eventually we can open up these tourism packages for schools and colleges,” he said, adding that every district bus stand and railway station could have a promotional advertisement on the local tourist spots to visit within the district.
State Planning Board Vice-chairman Ch. Kutumba Rao, Special Chief Secretary (Forests) AK Parida, Principal Secretary to CM Satish Chandra, Principal Secretary (Tourism & Culture) Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Secretary to CM Sai Prasad, Commissioner (Endowments) Anuradha and other officials were present during the review meeting.