VISAKHAPATNAM: The state government recently gave nod to an APTDC’s proposal to secure bank loans worth Rs 142 crore for development of tourism sector. This is the first time in the country when a state government has agreed to take loans of this figure for development of the sector.
Sharing the details, AP Special Chief Secretary (Tourism and Culture) Rajat Bhargav told TNIE that the total cost of all planned projects is Rs 202 crore. While the Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation will take loans worth Rs 142 crore from banks, the remaining Rs 60 crore will be spent from the APTDC’s treasury.
“The money will be primarily used to improve facilities at the existing tourist destinations. Several sites need better connectivity, sanitation and accommodation facilities. So they will be our priority,” he said, adding renovation of the 36 Haritha Resorts and hotels run by the APTDC is also part of the plan. Also, a large chunk of the total amount will be utilised to give impetus to eco-tourism with the construction of eco-resorts in Jagithpalli, Lambasingini and Maredumulli. Focus will also be given to rural tourism development as well.
“First in Krishna, East and West Godavari, and Visakhapatnam, stores for handicraft and handloom products will be opened in villages. We are also planning to offer trips to these villages so that tourists can have a firsthand experience of the artisans’ life,” Bhargav added. Water tourism is another aspect for which a handsome amount will be dedicated. “We have a good coastline and several beaches across the state. This gives us great scope to develop water sports and beach tourism.”
At present, the Corporation is making an yearly profit of Rs 5 to Rs 10 crore after all expenditures including the staff’s salary. Bhargav mentioned that the goal is to take the profit up to Rs 20 to Rs 25 crore. “The loan will be taken by the corporation and not by the government. So even if the governments change, the works will go on. We have also planned to keep certain tourist spots as guarantees against the loan amount. We can easily pay off the loan amount and make profits if we reach close to our goal.” With regard to projects to be taken under public private partnership model, he said the corporation has approached as many as 20 companies, of which five have shown interest in taking the talks further.