Andhra eyes Rs 20K cr investment in tourism
Andhra Pradesh, in its efforts to fuel the engine of growth in the tourism sector is eyeing investments worth Rs 20,000 cr by 2029. The state has set a target of Rs 10, 000 cr investments by 2020.
A shelf of district and theme based projects worth Rs 36,000 have already been prepared and initiated. The year 2015-16 witnessed the tourism sector track investments worth Rs 12,000 crores from approximately 160 projects generating an employment potential of about 35,000. Projects worth Rs.1,500 crores have already been grounded.
This momentum in investments is further going to pick up in the year 2016-17. In year 2015, the state has seen a jump in the tourist footfalls to the tune of 30%, increasing from 93 million in 2014 to 122 million in 2015. In a bid to match investor expectations with the state’s resoluteness of intent, the state government in its award winning Andhra Pradesh Tourism Policy 2015-20 has announced an array of incentives to investors for taking up tourism infrastructure projects and services.
This includes schemes such as a fixed land rental of 2% of basic market value for investors, reduction in VAT slabs to 5% for hotels and resorts, and a 3 year tax holiday on luxury and entertainment tax among others. The state also beholds investment opportunities for tour operations and travel agencies to further augment tourist inflow to the state. Commenting on the state’s tourism potential Union Minister of State, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Y S Chowdary said, “I strongly believe that Andhra Pradesh’s tourism sector has a lot of potential for investments and I am confident that it will emerge as one of the biggest growth engines, driving our state’s economy. The State will extend Red Carpet Model for investors”.
Blessed with a long coastline of 974 km and 35,000 sq km of forests with tiger reserves, wildlife and bird sanctuaries, hill stations, Andhra Pradesh has huge tourism potential for investors’ right from setting up of aqua based theme parks, amusement parks, cruises to eco-tourism and leisure tourism.
While the state intends to unlock further value from Temple tourism creation of a Buddhist Circuit is another budding avenue being pursued which is expected to attract both domestic and international tourists alike. Presence of world-class hospitals and skilled medical professionals makes a strong pitch for medical tourism. The government has also given fillip to various rural tourism schemes with an aim to showcase the rural core competence in art, craft, handloom, textiles and the natural environment.
Among its various other plans to give an impetus to tourism in the state, the government is providing best tourism packages with option of multi-modal transportation for a tourist and is setting up an Indian Culinary Institute at Tirupati in addition to Hospitality Management Institute at Tirupati and Kakinada.
To promote MICE tourism in the state, the government plans to develop Mega Convention Centres in Visakhapatnam, Tirupati and Vijayawada.
The government has also taken several progressive steps towards creating world class infrastructure such as further augmenting the rail and road network, adding more national highways etc. along with a 1,000 km long beach corridor.
Andhra Pradesh has very recently laid the foundation for Amaravati – its futuristic capital. Amaravati will be integrated through an extensive network of ports, roads, airports and inland waterways aimed at turning the state into a well-connected economic hub. Amaravati has the potential to emerge as an attractive tourist and hospitality destination in the near future.
Speaking on tourism potential, Principal Secretary Tourism and Culture Neerabh Kumar Prasad said, “The state is working towards creating 6 tourist hubs – Visakhapatnam; Rajahmundry-Konaseema-Kakinada; Vijayawada-Amaravati; Tirupati; Ananthapuramu-Puttaparthi and Srisailam.” With an investment of Rs 12,000 crores already tracked, development of a sturdy tourism infrastructure is what will give further fillip to the sector.