INDIA'S GLOBAL MAGAZINE
EMPIRE FEATURE 

ANDHRA CALLING

Andhra Pradesh is poised for a giant leap forward in the area of tourism. The state tourism departmentís dynamic strategies promise to add to the overall tourist traffic on Indian soil. A.P.ís Tourism Director Sabysachi Ghosh elaborates in a Q and A:
What has been the vision of your department for increasing tourist flow to the state of Andhra Pradesh? 
When we speak of increasing tourist flow to the state of Andhra Pradesh it is usually in 4 segments.
These tourism segments are marketed in all important major cities in India and abroad through road shows and interactive press meets and meets with stakeholder organisations. 
The initiatives of AP Tourism for promoting its existing tourism destinations have given the state a unique identity in the Indian tourism world. 

International aircraft movements to Hyderabad have increased. A Universal Access System is in place. It provides all relevant tourism information on a round the clock basis. On-line reservation of accommodation and other services are available.

A. P. has a large and financially empowered expatriate population across the world. Do you see this segment spending more on tourism in times to come? 
AP is a state that has emerged as a major producer of knowledge workers and other professionals working abroad in large numbers.

Hyderabad, the state capital, is emerging as a major IT and biotechnology hub, with many international and Indian companies setting up a presence here. The city known as Cyberabad is also emerging as a regional hub in the South Asian aviation map due to major infrastructural development and is gaining prominence as an important tourist destination. 

The Government of Andhra Pradesh has also adopted an investor friendly, open door policy for investors from abroad wanting to invest in the Tourism Sector. The Government has set up two companies - one to raise capital for tourism projects and the other to facilitate joint ventures. Investments in the tourism industry are basically related to particular sectors like the hotel industry and other tourism related infrastructure like creation of entertainment centres, shopping malls, multiplexes and dedicated tourism theme parks.

What are the main investment opportunities in the tourism sectors for NRIs and PIOs? 
To create positive investment climate the State Tourism Department has taken the following positive measures in taxation and incentives:

  • For registration of the deeds and licence agreements, 70% exemption in the registration and stamp duty is available. 
  • 5 year exemption of luxury tax for new hotels. 
  • Luxury tax reduced to 5% on hotel tariff against the existing rate of 10%. 
  • Sales tax is fully exempted for 5 years for the new units and special projects and sales tax exemption is limited to 100% of the fixed capital cost. 
  • Exemption is given for 5 years on entertainment tax.

Tourism is now getting very specialised. How is A P Tourism gearing up to meet the expectations of eco-tourists, health-tourists and others? 
In the rapidly growing Travel and Tourism sector, the Andhra Pradesh Tourism has come up with various projects in eco-tourism like the Tyda, an eco-tourists camp and is proposing to create a tribal village, replete with tribal cuisine and culture. The Borra Caves, for instance, are millions of years old and hold in them innumerable stalactites and stalagmites. The Belum Caves form the longest cave system in the plains in the country and are said to be millions of years old. A novel eco-tourism project is the illumination of the Ethipotla water falls that cascade 22 meters in to a quiet lagoon.
The State proposes to encourage alternative medicine systems by setting up health and ayurveda resorts especially at Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam.

Can you please expand on the ďComplete Travel Solution PackagesĒ concept? 
The Department of Tourism, Government of Andhra Pradesh, had conducted Destination Promotion Shows at Colombo, Bangkok and Singapore. The Destination Promotion Shows were conducted in association with Sri Lankan Airlines and Air India. The Public-Private Partnership, the first of its kind, has collectively brought the airlines, service providers and the Government together for Complete Travel Solution Packages. 

The packages are in tune with global trends of packaged travel solutions at internationally competitive rates.

The packages include return airfare, 2 nights and 3 days luxury accommodation with breakfast, airport transfers, local sight seeing and attractive discounts on shopping.

January 2006

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