Visakhapatnam: The number of foreign tourists arriving in Andhra Pradesh during the ongoing tourism season has come down by over 14 per cent compared to the footfall in 2018. On the other hand, arrival of domestic tourists has increased marginally in the current tourism season.
Officials of Tourism Department said that while 19.5 crore tourists, including 2.81 lakh foreigners, had visited Andhra Pradesh in 2018, the number has touched 22.22 crore visitors, including 2.41 lakh foreign tourists, in 2019.
Though the domestic tourists’ arrival has increased in 2019, the number of foreign tourists arrival decreased by 40,000 when compared to the previous year.
In Andhra Pradesh, after Anantapur, which is known for its pilgrim tourism due to Prasanthi Nilayam, Visakhapatnam is the most preferred destination for foreigners given the presence of breathtaking locales like Araku Valley, Borra Caves, ‘AP Kashmir’ Lammasingi, golden beaches and resplendent hills.
Anantapur attracted 88,316 foreigner and 51.62 lakh domestic visitors in 2019 while Vizag attracted 87,218 foreigners and 2.15 crore domestic visitors.
Stating that attracting foreign visitors was not an easy task, K Vijay Mohan of Tours and Travels Association of Andhra Pradesh said that the State has to promote adventure tourism and water sports in a big way.
There is an urgent need to create infrastructures such as star hotels in major cities and tourist destinations and provide air and road connectivity. The tourism department has to roll out home-stay facility and provide road-side amenities to draw the attention of the visitors, he added.
There’s a lot of scope for adventure tourism like rappelling, rock-climbing, trekking, paragliding and surfing in many parts of Andhra Pradesh. However, the government has failed to create infrastructure near such spots and also failed to appoint any celebrity as brand ambassador for AP Tourism, said G Srinivas, an activist.
Andhra Pradesh miserably failed in attracting adventure tourists in spite of the huge potential that waits to be tapped. Recent surveys by the Union Ministry of Tourism found that out of the over 22 crore tourists, only two per cent, including over 3,000 foreigners, explored adventure spots in Andhra Pradesh.