Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh government has dismissed reports about exploring the feasibility of floating casinos off Vizag coast to generate resources amid a decline in revenue collection and delay in funds transfer from the union government.

Minister for Tourism M Srinivasa Rao on Tuesday said the government wouldn’t encourage casino tourism and they are committed to the welfare of society.

The minister said that tourism is one of the key sectors for revenue generation but they would continue the best practices to promote Andhra Pradesh.

There were some reports that the AP government is looking to promote the floating casinos on the lines of Goa. The reports said the AP government had reached out to the union government for the floating casinos off Vizag Coast.

A senior officer of the Tourism Department said that AP has the second-longest coastline of 975 km from Srikakulam to Nellore in the country after Gujarat.

“They depend on domestic and foreign tourists, who love to visit the beaches surrounded by the green hills. The tourism department has not proposed floating casinos. Instead, it will promote the rural tourism in the state,” he added.

Andhra Pradesh had attracted over 23.65 crore domestic tourists and 2.6 lakh foreign tourists in 2019. The majority of them visited between October and January.

The tourism sector was one of the first to be affected by Covid-19 pandemic. Since January 2020, the travel sector in Andhra Pradesh has incurred a revenue loss of over Rs 2,000 crore. The projected loss of the sector has been pegged at Rs 3,500 crore by December. Plus there could be over 90 percent job cuts by the end of this year.

AP Tourism Development Corporation is hoping that the state may witness at least 50 percent inflow from the third week of October.

The Andhra Pradesh government has already banned online games including Rummy and Poker that were pushing the youngsters into gambling.

“AP government will not encourage gambling activities such as floating casinos and others,” said YSR Congress Party leaders

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