KAHINI CHAKRABORTY – Mumbai
Maharashtra has been as one of the prominent markets for attracting domestic tourists to the state of Andhra Pradesh. In 2010-11, 154.98 million domestic tourists visited Andhra Pradesh, which constitutes 23.6 per cent of the total domestic visitors. With an aim to further attract more number of tourists, Chandana Khan, IAS, special chief secretary – Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh said, “The state tourism department is planning to construct a Buddhist style theme park at Nagarjuna Sagar and a giant wheel called Hyderabad Eye on the lines of famous London Eye. There are plans to also develop floating restaurants and a night bazaar near Charminar in Hyderabad.” This information was revealed at the recently organised ‘Andhra Pradesh Tourism Interaction Meet’ held at Taj Lands End, Mumbai.
The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is also looking at appointing general sales agents (GSAs) for promoting hotel, tour packages organised by APTDC. Talking about the immediate agenda of the state tourism department for the next two years on the sidelines of the event, Khan informed Express TravelWorld, “In the next two years we will look at promoting our heritage sites, temple architecture and sculptures. We also have put in place a new initiative called ‘adopt a monument policy’. As part of river tourism, the river trails also need to be publicised. With regards to hotel development in the state, we have certain policy incentives like luxury tax exemption for a few years.”
Furthermore, the corporation has also tied-up with domestic airlines- SpiceJet and Jet Airways for promoting religious tourism with a two-day package costing Rs 9,199. The package includes flights, accommodation transportation and visits to various temples. It has also launched Andhra Pradesh Vacation Packages that includes road-cum-river cruise, road-cum-rail, road-cum-sea retreat, road-cum-sea backwater cruise and temple package tours.