Theme-based tourism in Andhra Pradesh to get a boost  – The New Indian Express

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Taking advantage of Andhra Pradesh being a microcosm within itself,  offering unmatched tourism potential to investors and tourists, the State government has come up with a theme-based tourism plan. Its objective is to develop the State as one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the country through sustained investments and robust infrastructure to offer a diverse experience to tourists. 

As part of its tourism strategy, the State will offer themes of Rural Tourism, Agri Tourism/Farm Stays, Heritage, Buddhist, Eco-Tourism, Beach and Water-based Tourism, Adventure and Recreational Tourism, Religious, Cuisine, Spiritual/Wellness and Responsible Tourism. As per the action plan chalked out by the department, equal emphasis will be laid on different themes as each has its own significance. Rural Tourism proposes to popularise arts and crafts of various regions, thereby enhancing the income generation of artisans. 

One of the initial steps of the plan will be to integrate local arts, crafts and cuisine with all important tourism activities in the State. The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) will set up experience centres at each of these locations that serve as the focal point for creation of experiences around the art and craft. These centres will highlight areas with history of the craft and experiential activity for visitors to try their hand at the crafts. Setting up souvenir shops and development of basic amenities are part of the plan.

Under Agriculture Tourism, the APTA will construct accommodation in farmlands for tourists to experience village life and farming. The farm stays will be listed on digital channels of AP Tourism. It will develop the identified villages on a public private partnership (PPP) mode and organise skill development workshops to train locals in various tourism related activities required to build the ecosystem.

Under Heritage Tourism, the department will explore the possibility of converting the heritage buildings into accommodation units while ensuring preservation and conservation of the monuments. Further, it will conduct heritage walks and tours for students, nature enthusiasts and others.It will also develop museums, in coordination with the ASI and Archaeology Department by upgradation of infrastructure, application of augmented reality and virtual reality to enhance tourist experience, development of short films to depict historical and cultural significance of the places.

As Andhra Pradesh has a significant Buddhist heritage as it is a cradle of Mahayana Buddhism and has more than 40 significant Buddhist sites, the APTA will promote Buddhist Tourism to popularise the historical significance of Buddhism in the State and develop special Buddhist circuits by linking all the Buddhist sites in close coordination with other States.  

Vizag cluster comprising Salihundam, Thotlakonda, Bojjannakonda and Bavikonda and Amaravati cluster consisting of Amaravati Stupa, Undavalli Caves and Nagarjuna Konda are prominent Buddhist tourism clusters in the State.With AP being blessed with a rich forest cover and having varied flora and fauna, eco-tourism is expected to pay rich dividends. Eco- tourism will be developed by creating experiences which have low impact on environment and have high-involvement of local people. 

Equal importance will be given to Beach and Water-based Tourism, Adventure and Recreational Tourism, Religious, Cuisine, Spiritual/Wellness and Responsible Tourism. Temple tourism will also be promoted in a big way.

Different themes

Rural Tourism, Agri Tourism/Farm Stays 
Heritage, Buddhist Tourism 
Eco-Tourism, Beach and Water-based Tourism 
Adventure and Recreational Tourism 
Religious, Cuisine, Spiritual/Wellness, Responsible Tourism

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