The Day 3 of The CII Partnership Summit began with a Plenary on The Changing World of Work and was followed by a session on Tourism in Andhra Pradesh and how the state government wants to use it as an agent of economic development. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu who expects Rs.5 lakh crore investment in A.P., discussed with Tourism professionals and entrepreneurs and encouraged them to bring innovative ideas in this sector.
Participating in the tourism session, the Union Minister of Civil Aviation Ashok Gajapathi Raju said, “There are only three modern airports in India in the sense with parallel runways and they are in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Delhi. India needs to modernise its airports and east and west coasts need modern airports,” he said. He made it clear that an international airport would be developed in Bhogapuram. The State Government had earlier proposed to develop a new Greenfield Airport at Bhogapuram, about 50 k.m. from Visakhapatnam. The airport will be located in the town of Bhogapuram and will serve the wider Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
Dec-2015. India’s Civil Aviation Ministry has reportedly given site clearance for Bhogapuram Airport. The airport, which is being opposed by the locals, received necessary clearances from the Defence Ministry.
Oct-2015. Bhogapuram Airport received approval from Andhra Pradesh’s Government to seek INR15 billion (USD231 million) in loans to cover pre-development, land acquisition and infrastructure development. The Government also appointed Secretary of Energy, Infrastructure and Investments Ajay Jain as Bhogapuram International Airport Corporation (BIAC) chairman.
The Minister also urged Chief Ministers of different states to bring down VAT on ATF (aviation turbine fuel) on the lines of what AP government did. The TDP regime had reduced VAt on ATF to 1%.
Referring to tourism potential in AP, he said, “AP has all types of terrain. We have abundance of water, the Eastern Ghats and a picturesque Vizag-Bheemili road and Vizianagaram Fort. AP has everything for a tourist.”
“Tourism is a human necessity and everyone has a travel bug in him,” he said adding that infrastructure does play a part and so does aviation. At the same time, he cautioned investors by stating, “Exploit it, but don’t destroy it. Have a sustainable movement for tourism.”
Nakul Anand, Executive Director, ITC Limited said, “AP is fast emerging as a tourism destination in India. It has witnessed a 35% growth in domestic and 11% in foreign tourist arrivals. State represents Indian culture and has beaches, hills, wildlife and Eastern Ghats spreading over AP.” He said, “AP has identified 42 sub themes for tourism and Vizag alone has 9 sub themes including potential for water sports, religion among others.”
Earlier, ITC’s The Grand Bharat hotel luxury retreat became the only hotel from India featuring in the Top 50 of the world’s best. More than 128,000 travelers, the most recorded yet, participated in the 28th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards Survey, voting for their favorite hotels from around the world.
Set amidst the ancient Aravali hills spread in 1.2 sq. km. estate, ITC Grand Bharat hotel is India’s first and only all-suite luxury retreat opened in November 2014.
Nakul Anand has said, “ITC Grand Bharat is a milestone in ITC Hotels’ four-decade journey.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Department Principal Secretary Neerabh Kumar Prasad said, “MoUs worth Rs 5,200 crore have been signed in the tourism sector and tourism policy includes a single desk clearance system with approvals in 21 days.” He said, “There are certain issues as we don’t have water sports policy, but we are working on it and are committed to fill the gap area.” He said, “We are not just looking at hotels, we want to think like a tourist and take all stakeholders on board for developing the tourism potential.”
In an effort to portray Andhra Pradesh as a global tourism destination, Neerabh Kumar Prasad had earlier taken part in BITE 2015-16 in China. During his visit, Prasad had meetings with the Buddhist Association of China which has expressed deep interest in visiting Amaravati, Nagarjuna Konda and other Buddhist Sites in Andhra Pradesh.
Highlighting the potential of Andhra Pradesh as a tourist destination, Prasad said that the main sites promoted the Beaches in and around Vizag, the Hill stations, the backwaters of Kakinada, Konaseema, the Hope Island & the Coringa Mangroves, and also the Budhist circuits linking Amaravati and Nagarjuna Konda.
The chairman of HVS Asia Pacific Manav Thadani has said that there are only around 1.10 lakh branded rooms and about 2-3 lakh unbranded rooms in the country. He said, “Put more hotels in AP in order to meet the tourism potential in the state.”
Manav Thadani has co-founded SAMHI in 2011, a leading Indian hotel investment and development firm with focus on ownership of branded hotels in the upscale, mid-scale and economy segments across key cities. Within a short span of time, SAMHI has a total pipeline of over 3,400 rooms across 24 hotels in 10 Indian cities under international brands such as Courtyard by Marriott, Hyatt Place, Sheraton Four Points, Fairfield by Marriott and Formule1.