Tourist spots in Visakhapatnam have turned into a beehive of activity with steady inflow of tourists from West Bengal, Orissa and other States.
Dasara vacation – the period considered ideal for people seeking leisure tourism in the hills due to pleasant climatic conditions – has attracted many to Araku valley. With hotels and resorts having been booked in advance, ‘no vacancy' boards are greeting guests at most of the popular holiday locations.
“We did very good business during Dasara and are expecting it to continue with Christmas/Pongal and other festivals to follow. We expect to register a 30 per cent jump in our revenue,” AP Tourism Development Corporation Divisional Manager Suresh Kumar Reddy told The Hindu. There is an abnormal demand for million-year-old Borra Caves, located close to hill resorts of Araku and Anantagiri. APTDC had season's best collection of Rs.3 lakh from entry fee charged from the tourists on Sunday. The collection was Rs.2.58 lakh on Saturday and Rs.2.40 lakh on Friday.
Rushikonda – considered the best beach spot in the city – has become a big hit even with foreign tourists. The resort owned by APTDC is in demand with daily collections exceeding Rs.1.5 lakh during Dasara vacation. The re-introduction of speedboats at Rushikonda has provided good entertainment for several adventure-loving tourists. On an average, APTDC could get Rs.15,000 a day by charging Rs.250 per ride into the sea.
The ‘joy trip' conducted into the sea from the Fishing Harbour in 40-seater ship has been appreciated by many tourists. “It is quite a thrilling experience. Moreover, we could take picturesque photos of the city from the vessel,” said Nirmala Hazarika, a tourist from Kolkata. The budget hotel Yatri Nivas (Harita) located near Appu Ghar has 75 to 80 per cent rooms booked in advance. The Jungle Bell project at Tyda, on the foothills of Eastern Ghats, famous for bird-watching and mountaineering, has 18 rooms. “Even in off-season, we have 100 per cent occupancy at Tyda,” Mr. Reddy said.
The road-cum-rail package to Araku and Borra Caves by the APTDC has bookings three months in advance. To cater to the demand, tourists buses were being operated from the city for a daylong trip to the agency area by charging Rs.500 per head (includes guide fee and food). Eight buses were run during Dasara season on daily basis on a tour to the heritage places like the Buddhist sites and 17th century Dutch township of Bhimunipatnam.