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ADTOI hosts 8th convention in Vizag

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With the aim to showcase a new destination to the domestic travel market, ADTOI hosted its 8th convention in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. Apart from discussing the prevalent issues of the industry, the event unveiled the potential of the state beyond religious tourism

Association of Domestic Tour Operators of India (ADTOI) hosted its 8th convention, themed ‘Explore India – One Nation, Many Worlds’ from November 17 to 19 at Novotel Hotel, Varuna Beach, Visakhapatnam. The inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of N Chandrababu Naidu, Chief Minister, Andhra Pradesh; Bhuma Akhila Priya Reddy, minister of tourism, Andhra Pradesh; Ashima Mehrotra, director, Ministry of Tourism among members of the ADTOI team.

Welcoming the members, Chetan Gupta, honorary general secretary, ADTOI, stated, “The state of Andhra Pradesh holds immense potential beyond religious tourism and we as ADTOI will put rigorous efforts to place it on the domestic traveller’s map. Apart from wonder beaches in Vizag, the state is also blessed with natural wonders in Araku Valley, Buddhist tourism spots, adventurous caves and many more locations that are yet to be explored by the tourists. The length of stay needs to be extended to make Andhra Pradesh a favourable destination among the local tourists.”

In her address, Reddy informed, “The government of Andhra Pradesh is focusing on creating the necessary infrastructure for tourism growth. The tourism policy gives immense opportunities for private investments in areas that can be future attractive destinations in Andhra Pradesh. The proposed Formula One racing track near Krishna river and Adventure Sports Academy in Kadapa district are examples of the state’s efforts to push tourist inflow. We have already hosted several events this year like hot air balloon festival, Sounds on Sands. Another AR Rahman concert is being held by the end of this year. We plan to make Andhra Pradesh the next favourite destination for Indian tourists.”

Naidu informed that Amravati, the new capital city which is being developed as a greenfield project, will soon be among the top five cities in the world. By 2029, the state is looking to attract `30,000 crore investment in the tourism sector, create 10 lakh jobs and increase the domestic tourist footfall to the state to 353 million from the current 153 million. Showcasing his strong belief in public-private partnerships, Naidu further revealed that the government has already allotted 10 acres of land in Visakhapatnam to the Lulu Group to build a world-class convention centre along with a shopping mall within the next two years.

He further added, “Andhra Pradesh will soon have electric vehicles as a cost effective and clean alternative because solar energy is soon going to be cheaper and our state has abundance of it.”

Commenting on the tourism potential of the state, he stated, “We will develop five tourism hubs namely Amravati, Visakhapatnam, Tirupati, Anantpur and Rajamundry.” In his attempt to make tourism as a major contributor of the state’s economy, he asserted to introduce new policies that favour the sector. He requested all the members to send in ideas and queries in order to work with the government and make Andhra Pradesh a tourism hub for the country.

Rajat Sawhney, vice president, ADTOI, informed that this was the association’s attempt to foray in the southern market. The association also announced the opening of its Andhra Pradesh chapter, led by K Vijay Mohan, president, Tours and Travel Association of Andhra Pradesh. He said that the association will be penetrating the southern market and unveil new destinations that can transform the domestic tourism circuit.

Addressing the audience, P P Khanna, president, ADTOI, said, “Visakhapatnam, popularly known as Vizag, is called the ‘Goa of East India’. It truly has some unique offerings for the domestic market with its well-built infrastructure and third cleanest city of India tag. Domestic tourists are keen to explore more destinations and we as an association want to unravel new places. With better connectivity, the state can exploit its tourism potential to the fullest. They can go beyond religious tourism and open circuits like Buddhist trail, tribal trail with more investment on the infrastructure front.”

The three-day event also witnessed sessions on MICE tourism, infrastructure facility and challenges from the online market. State presentations by Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Jammu-Kashmir further brought forward how domestic tourism is yet to fully explore many unknown regions in India. Other brands like AccorHotels and Deyor Camps presented their offerings.

The pre and post FAM tours also unraveled some unique properties and locations that were not known to the members. Sunray and Pema wellness resort added to the leisure stay offerings in and around Vizag. Other locations like Submarine museum, Bavi Konda, Kailasagiri Hills which are ideal fit for day explorations in the city, while Borra Caves and Araku Valley can be two-day excursions away from the city.