the fact that tourism plays an important role in
filling up the State's coffers, this sector has
been neglected over the years. However the Department
of Tourism has been evincing keen interest in developing
the tourism potential to the hilt and had embarked
upon several proposals. A significant effort is
being made by the department now to showcase the
state's tourism attractions, culture and cuisine
by organising road shows and heritage walks, disseminating
information through books and literature to the
potential tourists and also setting up of information
centres across India besides developing tourism
Tourism Department has some
grand plans in the next twenty years and is working
towards achieving the goal set by the 'Vision
2020' document which had predicted a growth
rate of 27% for the tourism sector. G Kishan
Rao, Director, Department of Tourism spent
some time with Hyderabad-Best.com and spoke
in detail about the department's plans in developing
the tourism sector in Andhra Pradesh.
Tourism is evolving as
an important sector of development today. And the
Government of Andhra Pradesh along with Tourism
Department has outlined various programmes for the
development of tourism. Can you tell us about some
of the major steps taken by the Tourism Department
to attract tourists in Andhra Pradesh?
The government of Andhra Pradesh is giving utmost
importance to tourism for the overall development
of the state. It believes that with meagre investment,
lot of money can be generated through tourism. We
have many plans to make Hyderabad as one of the
favourite tourist destinations in India. There will
be a floating restaurant in the Hussain Sagar lake
with dining halls and cultural decks for performances.
NTR Gardens will be one of the major tourist spots
of the city. It will house a rock garden and also
an Imax theatre which will be a centre for space
education and entertainment.
the Necklace Road, we are planning spectacular 'laser
and music' show which will come up very shortly.
A bird park is going to come up in 20 hectares of
land at the Naya Qila near Golconda fort,
which will house various birds of different
species. Apart from these, we are also planning
shopping malls in Hyderabad and Vizag,
Visitor's zone in Tirupathi (near the foothills
of Tirumala) which will have religious based theme
parks, aerial tramway to Tirumala, food court and
entertainment centre, and 'Urban Hatts' in Tirupathi
There are many renowned Buddhist sites in AP and
we are renovating some of them like Bavikonda and
Thotlakonda near Vizag. Creation of water sports
facilities in Vizag, Vijayawada and Hussain
Sagar Lake are also on the anvil. Disney land
in Hyderabad is also in the pipeline and we are
looking for some private investment. Chippada
located at the meeting point of River Gosthani with
the Bay of Bengal will soon turn into a resort scape.
The proposed resort township will consist of beach
clubs, golf course, hotels, cultural village, public
parks, canals, swimming pools etc. We are also taking
up the conservation works of the historical monuments
like Charkaman, where the conservation work is in
the final stages.
As the department is having
some great plans for the development of tourism
sector, there could be a lot of tourist inflow into
the state. But what are the facilities that the
tourism department is going to provide for the tourists
so that they can return home without any grouse?
First of all, we are renovating our guesthouses
by converting them into 3 star hotels with all kinds
of facilities. We are providing new buses to the
tourist spots for easy travelling and also improving
the parking space available for the vehicles. The
government has started new international flights
connecting Hyderabad with different foreign countries.
So automatically tourist inflow into the state will
be high. We are training rickshaw and taxi drivers
to be friendly with the tourists. We are also conducting
special training programmes for the tourist guides.
Special tourism police force has been appointed
for the guidance and security of the tourists.
from these, we are organising heritage walks, and
conducting various festivals like Deccan festival,
Kakatiya festival, Vijayanagara festival, Lumbini
festival and Heritage festival to provide a glimpse
of our culture and heritage to the foreigners. We
are also celebrating 25th November as the 'Andhra
Pradesh Tourism Day' for highlighting tourism
activity in the state. The Tourism Department has
established tourist information centres in Mumbai,
Hyderabad, Chennai, Calcutta and Bangalore
to provide detailed information about Andhra Pradesh
The department is attaching
lot of importance to eco-tourism. What exactly is
eco-tourism? And what are the projects, which you
are covering under eco-tourism concept?
Andhra Pradesh encompasses wide variety of wildlife
and natural beauty. It is dotted with diverse landscapes
- from a lush coastal area to a dry deciduous forest
to a mangrove belt. The state is home to India's
largest tiger reserve, in the Nallamalai forest.
The Godavari river delta is famous for reptiles
like the saltwater crocodile, fishing cats and other
exotic animals. India's largest pelican refuge at
Kolleru Lake, which is also a haven for migrating
birds, is an important tourist site of AP. Apart
from these, we have number of wild life sanctuaries
and resorts. Keeping in mind the rich natural habitat
of our state, we evolved the concept of eco-tourism.
We want to beautify the surroundings of an area
without disturbing its natural habitat. You can
take the example of Shilparamam, the crafts
village of Hyderabad, where we have converted it
into a tourist spot without touching the natural
habitat. We have not moved even the rocks present
We have identified some major wild life sanctuaries
with the help of forest department to give boost
to the eco-tourism. Araku valley near Vizag, Horseley
Hills in Chittor, Tirupathi hills, Nagarjuna Sagar,
Srisailam, Nelapattu near Nellore, Eturunagaram
near Warangal etc are some of them taken up under
the eco-tourism project. We are providing amenities
for the comfort of the tourists in these areas.
What is the growth rate
of tourism sector in Andhra Pradesh at present?
Pradesh Vision 2020 document gives lot of
importance to the tourism sector.
The document has projected that 25 million foreign
tourists will visit the State by the year 2020,
while 66 million domestic tourists will also head
towards the State. Every year, 4 crore 37
lakh people visit the state of Andhra Pradesh, which
is only next to Uttar Pradesh in terms of tourist
inflow. Visit of foreign tourists to Andhra Pradesh
is also quite high at present and in the next few
years by 2003, we are expecting a growth rate of
2-3% in the tourism sector.
The department has started
a paying guest accommodation scheme to facilitate
tourists to stay in a home like environment. And
many people are showing enthusiasm towards this
scheme. Can you just tell us about the procedure
for becoming member of the paying guest accommodation
Andhra Pradesh believes in the principle of
'Athithi Devo Bhava' where a guest
is treated as a god. To keep up that spirit, the
department is seeking the cooperation of people
with varied socio-linguistic background and having
the necessary infrastructure to make this concept
a success. The concept provides us an opportunity
to showcase to the international community the warmth
that is there with Indians in general and the Andhras
in particular that in turn helps promoting AP as
the most sought after and a warm tourist destination
in the South.
The department has specified a number of factors
for the success of the concept. They are- The premises
must be in a good locality, the owner must stay
within the premises, accommodation must not be more
than five rooms with 10 beds, and the host will
have to maintain a register of arrival and departure
of guests. A committee will inspect the accommodation
before it is registered under the scheme. Payment
for accommodation, breakfast and use of other facilities
will be according to the rates approved by the Department
a foreign guest stays, the host has to fill in form
`C' and submit the same to the nearest police station.
The owners have to send monthly reports on guests
to the Director of Tourism, Hyderabad. They are
also encouraged to attract guests to their houses.
A copy of the application to become member of this
scheme can be had from the Secretary (Tourism),
Youth Advancement, Tourism & Culture Department,
3rd Floor, A-Block, Secretariat, Hyderabad or from
the Director, Department of Tourism, Tank Bund Road,
Hyderabad. Or log on to http://www.aptourism.com/html/paying.htm
(for online application).
How many members have taken
membership till now?
We have received thirty-seven applications under
paying guest accommodation scheme. But we have short
listed only 12 homes on the basis of location and
infrastructure available there.
Some NGO's are making hue
and cry over the tourism projects taken up along
the Hussain Sagar Lake. They allege that the tourism
department is spoiling the natural beauty of the
lake by constructing new projects along the lake.
What is your reaction to such kind of charges?
These are baseless charges. The Government is
very keen to take care of the lake's natural beauty.
Infact, the department has protected the lake from
illegal encroachments by constructing the Necklace
road along the lake, which is now a major spot for
organising cultural festivals. I don't want to comment
much about this since the matter is sub judice.
Government is giving
utmost priority to tourism sector for generating
employment. In what way the tourism sector generates
The tourism sector does not generate employment
directly, but it provides employment indirectly.
When a place with the tourist potential develops,
there will be a spurt in demand for hotels, taxis,
shopping etc. So the concept is very simple and
everyone is going to be benefited by this.
Address: Director, Department of Tourism,
Government of Andhra Pradesh, Tank Bund Road, Hyderabad-500
063. Phone: 345 4550. Fax: 345 3109.
AP Tourism Information
Centres across India
Address: AP Tourism Information
Centre, AP Bhavan, Ashoka Road- New Delhi-110 001.
Phone: 011-338 1293
Address: AP Tourism Information Centre, 210,
Kanishka Shopping Plaza, 19, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110
001. Phone: 011-336 6328
Address: AP Tourism Information Centre,
General Assurance Building, DN Road, Opp. Handloom
House, Mumbai. Phone: 022-208 2846
Address: AP Tourism Information Centre,
Indian Chambers Building, II Floor, No. 6 Explanede,
Address: AP Tourism Information Centre,
33, Swiss Complex, Races Course Road, Bangalore-560
001. Phone: 080-238 3361, 238 3362