VISAKHAPATNAM : For tourists the world over, Andhra Pradesh is synonymous with scenic nature, beaches and pilgrim centres. And the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is planning to exploit the advantages of the state’s tourism centres for attracting a large number of tourists to the state.
Post-bifurcation, the truncated Andhra Pradesh is left with numerous tourism spots but with less amenities. Unlike Hyderabad, not many cities or tourism centres except for Visakhapatnam and Tirupati have enough amenities to boost the tourism sector. The government is now taking up works pertaining to development of these amenities through development of tourism circuits including four mega tourism circuits and eight pilgrim circuits apart from exploring the potential of beach tourism along the coast.
Four mega circuits, which are being developed, include Visakhapatnam-Bheemili beach corridor, the Godavari circuit comprising East and West Godavari districts, the Krishna circuit and the Anantapur circuit which alone has 31 tourist destinations. Nearly `45-50 crore is being spent on each of these four circuits. Besides, the APTDC is also developing resorts at Kakinada Beach, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary and Orvakal Rock Gardens (Kurnool). Several other initiatives are being taken to boost tourism with the funds sanctioned by the Centre.
As part of the pilgrim circuits project, the APTDC plans to develop a circuit of popular pilgrim towns in eight districts of Srikakulam, Visakhapatnam, East and West Godavari, Krishna, Guntur, Anantapur and Kurnool. The focus would be on developing amenities at these pilgrim centres including food and lodging apart from better connectivity from nearby major towns. “Tenders have been already invited for some circuits, while the proposals are being finalised for a few others. We might start developing the circuits by the end of the year,” said Amarender Kumar, executive director (projects) of APTDC. The development of each pilrgim circuits costs about `5-8 crore.
Though the projects were sanctioned during the tenure of the UPA government by the then Union tourism minister K Chiranjeevi, the officials said that certain modifications are being carried out as per the vision of chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.