VISAKHAPATNAM:Despite the determination of Vizagites, who have strived hard and continue to so to restore the lost glory of their beloved Port City after the devastation caused by cyclone Hudhud, the tourism sector has taken a serious hit, what with both domestic and foreign tourists not keen on visiting the place anymore. The lost green cover, and widespread damage to tourism spots, coupled with episodes of coastal erosion which left an irreparable dent in the picturesque Beach Road have all turned into major deterrents for the city’s tourism industry.
Though the city recorded a steady growth in tourist arrival during the first half of the year, there was a sharp fall by 50 per cent after the cyclone Hudhud made landfall in October last, causing irreparable damage.
While there was a nominal growth in the number of domestic tourists, there was a decline in the number of foreign tourists.
While as many as 57,476 foreign tourists visited Visakhapatnam in 2013, the numbers dipped to 54,242 recording a fall of 3,000 during 2014. In the case of domestic tourists, the numbers increased from 67,006,75 in 2013 to 67,82,784 in 2014.
Known as the jewel of the East Coast, Vizag has always enticed tourists with its lush green hills and scenic beaches. But the impact of Hudhud, and continuing phenomenon of beach erosion have stripped some of the finest tourist spots like Kailasagiri, Araku Valley and RK beach of their glory. Major destinations like RK beach and the Kurusura submarine museum which remained closed for most part of the year, have lost their charm as well.
With news of the natural disaster everywhere, many tourists are learnt to have cancelled their plans to visit the Port City, while those arrived left early, disappointed.
“There is a sharp fall in tourist arrival post Hudhud. While around 15,000 foreign tourists arrived in the city during the corresponding period in 2013, the numbers fell to a mere 7,000, last December,” said a tourism information officer in the city.
The failure of APTDC to develop other tourist destinations and offer special packages contributed to the low turnout of tourists. While packages like the city night tour introduced by the APTDC flopped, the proposals for development of Lambasingi as a tourist spot also have not materialised.
Speaking to Express, APTDC general manager G Bhima Shankar Rao said that they could not work on tourism proposals as they were preoccupied with renovation and restoration works post Hudhud. There were some proposals to develop some places in Visakhapatnam agency, which include Lambasingi.