`No room’ signboards greet tourists at various budget hotels and private guesthouses as there is a mad rush of visitors from West Bengal, Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh for a vacation in the district.

Except the star hotels, all the places which provide decent accommodation at affordable price are booked in advance till mid-January as the tourist season, which began during Dasara has gained momentum.

AP Tourism Development Corporation’s Harita hotels and resorts at Appughar and Rushikonda here, Hill View and Mayuri resorts at Araku, Hill Resort at Anantagiri and Jungle Bell at Tyda having about 250 rooms in different categories ranging from Rs.850 to Rs.6,500 are full till Sankranti.

“This time we are getting tourists from Bihar and Madhya Pradesh besides many from various areas of AP,” APTDC Divisional Joint Manager S. Satyanarayana told The Hindu.

“No room is available at any of the 25 hotels and guesthouses at Araku for those coming without confirmation,” said B. David, managing partner of Krishna Tara resorts.

Foreign tourists are opting for star hotels whereas domestic tourists’ preference is for budget hotels. With about 100 private guesthouses/holiday homes providing AC accommodation with catering on request, the middle class tourists are getting rooms at a rental of Rs.1,000 to Rs.1500 in the city. Araku, the most sought after place in the Eastern Ghats and the picturesque valley and sun-kissed beaches in the city, very often called the `Goa of the East Coast’ are attracting a large number of tourists. The district received 2,00,000 tourists during 2011-12. The number is expected to grow by 20 to 30 per cent this year notwithstanding the strike by APTDC contract employees and the frequent derailment on Araku-Vizag section of East Coast Railways.

Among the tourists, Bengalis account for 70 per cent. Their itinerary generally includes a couple of days in the city enjoying the blue waters of the sea and later a day or two at Araku. They visit the valley by train to enjoy panoramic view of the green-capped hillocks and experience the thrill of going through tunnels.

A visit to million-year-old Borra Caves and Buddhist sites at Thotlakonda and a ride by a cab or tourist bus on the 30-km stretch of beach road from the city to 17th century Dutch town of Bhimili has become common. The rush at submarine museum here is such that the tourists’ queue is stretching up to the road. “To make it a hotspot, we want value addition by expediting work on projects like Arogyadham at Madhurawada, Wonders of World at Yendada, Science & Entertainment City at Kappulauppada and International Convention Centre at Mudasarlova,” said HRAAPvice-president K.M. Rao.

More In: Visakhapatnam