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APTDC to develop leisure tourism

Ati Balasubramanyam  |  Hyderabad 

The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is working on a two-pronged strategy to develop tourism in the state.
Apart from selecting some places for beach tourism, APTDC plans to further promote Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, Vijayawada, Kurnool, Tirupathi and Warangal as tourist hubs.
Speaking to Business Standard, J Raymond Peter, chairman and managing director of APTDC, said, "We have selected Mypadu in Nellore district, Machilipatnam, Narsapur, Bhimli, Visakhapatnam, Kalingapatnam and Baruva for development of beach tourism."
It may be recalled that the Andhra Pradesh government had earlier this month signed an MoU with Vizag Beach Resorts Private Limited for the construction of a Rs 2,000-crore mega tourist complex at Vizag beach.
To achieve the rapid growth of the tourism sector in the state, APTDC would now focus more on 'leisure tourism' in a big way.
"A tourist who comes over here should find a place where he could let his hair down and have an unforgettable experience," Peter said. Keeping this in mind, APTDC recently came out with a Rs 10-crore green valley train project at Araku, besides planning to develop integrated resorts at Tyda and Araku in Visakhapatnam.
Asserting that tourism in the state would be a rapid engine of growth, he said that there was a dearth of at least 20,000 qualified tourist professionals in the state. "To fill the vacuum, personnel will be given a short-term course in tourism by the National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality Management (NITHM), Hyderabad," he said.
On the upcoming Kalachakra at Amaravati, an outlay of Rs 24 crore had been sanctioned for the development of an interpretation centre at Amaravati and Sriparvat Arama, a Buddhist theme park at Nagarjunasagar.
"A further Rs 50 crore has been allocated for widening of roads leading to Guntur from Vijayawada and Nagarjunasagar and for providing other facilities including drinking water, toilets, electricity and fire safety etc," the APTDC chief said.
Around 50,000 pilgrims are expected to attend the Kalachakra, an initiation ceremony to be held from January 4-16, 2006. The number may even go up to 1.5 lakh towards the end of the ceremony.
The interpretation centre, to be ready by the end of December, will be inaugurated by Dalai Lama. The centre will house a 5'-3" statue of the Buddha which is being procured from Panagal near Nalgonda and Buddhist relics from 16 different parts of the state.
The Buddhist theme park at Nagarjunasagar, which will have replicas of stupas from different countries, is to be made a centre for Buddhist studies with chairs sponsored by universities in countries such as Sril Lanka, Thailand and Japan. A replica of the stupa at Amaravati is also being erected at the site.
To put the Buddhist circuit in the state on the international tourist map, authentic sculptures would be procured and the centre would be made a seat of Buddhist learning, Peter said.

First Published: Mon, November 21 2005. 00:00 IST