Tourism officials said that though hotels and other establishments have reopened after the lockdown, the footfall of tourists is not yet encouraging.

Buddha statue near Belum Caves in Kurnool districtImage Credit: Pixabay/Prasanna Devadas
news Tourism Thursday, October 22, 2020 - 09:41

Andhra Pradesh is looking at popularising virtual tours of various important tourist destinations in the state keeping with the trends in virtual tourism, Special Chief Secretary (Tourism and Culture) Rajat Bhargava said on Wednesday.

Development of rural tourism, given the perception of being safe and experiential in nature was also being explored, he said.

Addressing a virtual interactive session with members of the national tourism committee of FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry), Rajat said that though hotels and other tourism establishments have reopened after the lockdown, the footfall of tourists was not yet encouraging.

He said an aggressive marketing push was required for quick revival of tourism.

"The path to revival (of tourism) will involve building a perception of safe tourism in the minds of the tourists. Adjoining states will have to work together to ensure free flow of tourists across borders," the Special Chief Secretary said.

A coordinated effort between the different stakeholders, including the Central government, state governments, tourism bodies, travel and tour operators and hospitality industry was essential for this, he added.

Rajat said Andhra Pradesh has the potential to develop its coastline and position itself as a high-end luxury beach tourism destination.

He said the state was preparing a new tourism policy that would not only be flexible and aggressive but would also address several issues, like according industry status to mega tourism projects. The tourism department has identified certain high potential locations for development of hotels and luxury resorts in the state, he said.

It also plans to develop amusement parks and adventure sports in the state while ensuring a seamless connectivity of the destinations from all major airports.

The FICCI officials said development of required infrastructure was vital to capture the emerging opportunities in the tourism sector. They also wanted tax benefits and infrastructure subsidies apart from congenial regulations for development of beach shacks, MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) and other tourist facilities to facilitate greater participation of the private sector.

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