Andhra Pradesh (AP) has finalised a ‘mission document’ aimed at doubling the number of tourists as well as tourism’s share in GDP of the state over the next five years. According to Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Principal Secretary – Tourism, Andhra Pradesh, the mission document will be unveiled soon which will have many proposals to make Andhra a preferred state for tourism in the country in coming years. He said that the Chief Minister (CM) has a vision to convert the state into a tourism hub in the same fashion he designed Hyderabad as an IT hub of India during his last stint as the CM of undivided AP. Prasad was speaking at a panel discussion organised as part of the South India Hotel & Restaurant Association (SIHRA) convention in Hyderabad early this month.

He said that the government has already announced numerous concessions for the hospitality industry in the state. The government has decided in principle to reduce the VAT to five per cent for the hospitality sector, and an order in this regard is expected any time now. The electricity tariff for high tension (HT) consumers that includes hotels, has also been reduced by the government, he said. “We want food and hospitality industry to flourish in the state, as AP is known for its cuisines,” he said.

He urged investors to grab the opportunity in the tourism sector in the state. The government has identified 39 beach locations on the coastal stretch for tourism infrastructure development with private participation. He said that the state has also urged people with land parcels at these places to partner with the state in developing hotels, resorts, and other facilities. Fourteen locations have been identified along the Godavari delta for river/backwater tourism development. The government is also keen to develop the Krishna river delta for river tourism products, he added.