VISAKHAPATNAM: Eco-tourism in Visakhapatnam’s Agency areas are getting an extra push, thanks to the societies tribesmen from Anantagiri to Koyyuru have formed. Besides promoting community-based eco-tourism, these societies also generate income for its members. The Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) has set up a tourism cell to monitor and guide these societies.
Speaking to TNIE, Vanthada Abraham from Kothapalli said they formed the Eco-tourism Society with 20 members to provide basic amenities to tourists with ITDA’s support. “We are laying a pathway to the waterfalls,’’ he said. Society has graduates and students as its members.
ITDA project officer R Gopalakrishna said the programme was aimed at providing 100% employment to local youth as part of eco-friendly tourism development, so that it would be a win-win situation for both ITDA and the tribals. “There is more involvement of locals in concept-based societies, paving way for sustainable tourism development,’’ he said.
Gopalakrishna said the entire stretch of Anantagiri to Koyyuru has been dotted with tourist spots. “Our plan is to make the tribals own the tourism activity in the area and also provide employment for them,’’ he said. The ITDA’s tourism cell would monitor the activities of the societies and open a joint bank account, in which a nominal fee collected from visitors would be deposited. “The revenue will be shared between the tribals and ITDA. However, 85 per cent of revenue will go to the tribals as salaries and a revolving fund, and ITDA will get 15 per cent for developing infra,” the PO said.
He said the concept has been successful in Pedalabudu and Kollaput, and ITDA has plans to implement the same at Kothapalli, Vanjangi, Katika, Chaparayi. Gopalakrishna said plans were afoot to develop a `35-crore tribal welfare museum. A set of guidelines would be issued to tourists to maintain the ecological balance of the agency area.