Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosaiah today approved the final draft of the new tourism policy, that is aimed at generating new job opportunities.

Mr. Rosaiah finalised the draft of the new policy after a discussion with State Tourism Minister J Geeta Reddy and other officials here.

Andhra Pradesh achieved a record number of tourists at 129 million in 2009-10, a 16 per cent growth over last year, Mr. Rosaiah said.

With the new initiatives and a focused tourism policy, the State would continue as a preferred destination of both domestic and international tourists and retain its top position, he said.

Stating that the budget allocation for tourism had been enhanced to Rs. 6.2 crore in 2010-11, Mr. Rosaiah said all efforts would be made to get the release of nearly Rs. 25 crore due to the State from the Centre.

2011 would be observed as ‘Visit Andhra Pradesh’ year in recognition of the roll out of new tourist promotion initiatives in the realm of adventure, pilgrimage and beach tourism to attract more international tourists to the State, he said.

As part of the State’s tourism development policy, proposals are being processed for a total of 43 Jalayagnam sites into tourism destinations. In phase 1, 13 locations have been chosen for promotion of tourism infrastrcture.

Proposals by Flytech Aviation Academy and construction of a heliport at Nagarjunasagar are under active consideration.

“These measures will be in line with the state government’s target to mobilise investments in development of tourism infrastrcture to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore in the near future,” Mr. Rosaiah said.