Andhra Pradesh has the distinction of being a leading tourism destination in India and is presently, the third most visited State in terms of domestic tourism, realising the true socio-economic potential of tourism sector, writes Gopi Krishna Arora of Elets News Network (ENN).
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has adopted a mission-based approach towards development of tourism sector. The mission is to promote Andhra Pradesh as India’s most preferred tourist destination and positioning it as a global tourism brand by providing world class tourism products and services, while preserving the cultural heritage, environmental balance and natural beauty of the state. In order to achieve the mission’s objectives, the tourism targets are tabulated for the short- term (2020) and long-term (2029).
Having the second longest coast line of 974 kilometers in the country, a rich historical and cultural heritage, ancient and spiritual temples, serene valleys and hills, the new state of Andhra Pradesh with 13 districts hold vast tourist potential, hitherto. Andhra Pradesh is strategically located on the southeastern coast of India and is a natural gateway to East and South-East Asia.
The State provides an amalgamation of factors conducive to high growth and accelerated development, such as strong infrastructure, highly talented technical manpower, enterprising population and dynamic leadership. These offer immense opportunities for ushering in growth, development and resurgence of the State- also described as the ‘Sunrise State’.
“The State will provide potential private investors with excellent support infrastructure and access to a host of scenic locations, and divine destinations for developing worldclass tourism infrastructure projects and services.”
The State is a microcosm within itself – offering unmatched tourism potential to investors and tourists. It offers multitude of theme-based options to explore across its length and breadth. As part of its Tourism Mission strategy, the State offers nine major tourism themes:
- Beach and Water-based
- Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) and Infrastructure development
Mission-based approach to develop tourism
The state government has envisaged a mission-based approach to firmly set Andhra Pradesh on the path of sustainable development and growth. Seven missions have been identified to provide support in managing externalities and enhance inter-departmental synergy for improving outcomes and reducing delays. The Service Sector Mission would focus on enhancing job opportunities and providing further fillip to sectors such as tourism, construction, hospitality, financial services, education, IT and other allied activities.
The tourism sub-mission will work under the ambit of the Service Sector Mission. It will primarily focus on two key aspects:
a) Theme-based development: It will focus on developing tourism projects under themes of beach and water-based, eco-tourism, Buddhist, religious, heritage, MICE and infrastructure development, recreation/adventure, spiritual/ wellness and medical. Through this policy, the Andhra Pradesh Government endeavours to make the State more conducive and attractive for potential investors and provide an impetus to the tourism sector.
b) Destination-based development through hub and spoke model: The emphasis will be on developing five important tourism hubs (Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Tirupati, Rajahmundry-Kakinada and Srisailam-Nagarjuna Sagar) by 2020 and all other district headquarters as tourism hubs by 2029.
The State government firmly believes that this sector can be a major growth engine for economic development, employment generation and eradication of poverty by promoting investments in the tourism sector.
Andhra Pradesh aims to create an enabling environment to encourage private investments. The State will provide potential private investors with excellent support infrastructure and access to a host of scenic locations, virgin beaches, backwaters, pristine forest areas and divine destinations for developing world-class tourism infrastructure projects and services.
Amaravati Buddhist Stupa: Buddhist stupa or the Mahachaitya at Amaravati adds to the historic relevance of strong Buddhist influence in the region. The walls of the stupa are dotted with sculptures that depict the life and times of the Buddha and his teachings.
On the Eastern Ghats that form the natural boundary between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha in the east lies Anantagiri. Thickly wooded slopes with acres of coffee plantations greet visitors who travel up the ghat road. Anantagiri is about 80 km from Visakhapatnam on the road to Araku valley.
Borra Caves are located within Anantagiri Hills at a height of 4,593 feet above sea level. These caves hold natural, spiritual and historical significance, and their stalagmite and stalactite formations are impressive.
Dhisma dance – The dance of the hill tribes:
Generally performed in the local fairs and festivals of Araku Valley in Visakhapatnam district of AP, this tribal dance sees 15-20 women forming a chain and dancing in praise of local deity. Women attired in typical tribal dresses and ornaments dance to the beat of instruments like mori, thudum and dappu played by the male members.
Gandikota in the Kadapa district is known for its spectacular gorge formed by river Pennar that cuts through the Erramala hills. This handsome piece of nature’s architecture has come to be known as the ‘Hidden Grand Canyon of India’ by travellers who visit it and get bewitched by its beauty.
Orvakal Rock Gardens:
Situated in the Kurnool district, Orvakal is a famous with climbers and trekkers. It is home to the famed Orvakal Rock Gardens, a 1,000-acre park with indigenous rock formations of silica and quartz among pools of water.
Rishikonda beach, Visakhapatnam:
Known as the Jewel of the East Coast, the Rishikonda beach in Visakhapatnam is a must visit. The natural beauty, along with gentle ocean currents and golden sands make the beach a compelling spot for visitors. The beach is ideal for water-sports too.