Tourism Minister stresses need to promote Andhra Pradesh aggressively

Union Minister for Tourism K. Chiranjeevi on Monday asked officials related to the tourism sector in the State government to work towards completing projects on fast-track, assuring them of all help from the Centre.

At his first review meeting in the State after taking charge, he underscored the need for Andhra Pradesh to be branded aggressively on the lines of Kerala and Madhya Pradesh, to name a few States in India, and told senior officials to get cracking on a publicity blitzkrieg. For a start, he said destination development was needed, together with adequate signage to attract tourists.

“I have been travelling abroad extensively for the past three decades, even to relatively little-known locales as a film actor and I must tell you that it is branding that matters. India in general and AP in particular has much more to offer than several places I have visited across the world,” he stated, recalling recent visits to London and particularly his trip to Rome where he saw the Colosseum the 1,900 year-old amphitheatre that reflects the power of the Roman empire.

Mr. Chiranjeevi said the Centre had earmarked Rs. 201 crore for 40 projects in the State and in the first year of the 12 Five Year Plan released Rs. 58 crore for 11 projects. Speedy processing of the Visakhapatnam mega circuit with Central assistance of Rs. 55 crore would also be taken up, particularly to develop beach tourism between Visakhapatnam and Bheemili.

Theatre in Kuchipudi

Mr. Chiranjeevi said the city would host the conference of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) regional commission for the South Asian, East Asian and Pacific countries in April, 2013, with participants from 30 nations expected to attend. This was firmed up in London at his meeting with Taleb Rafai, UNWTO’s Secretary-General.

Closer home, the Union Minister said soon the new performance theatre at Kuchipudu in Krishna district would be thrown open, marking a step closer to making the place a world-class destination. He would also promote Kondapalli, he said, asking officials to take steps to promote Pochampally handlooms too.