Visakhapatnam is set for a major boost in the tourism sector after the state Cabinet approved several mega projects which includes a 120-meter-high sky tower atop Kailasagiri Hills with a mini-amusement park, and the conversion of an abandoned merchant vessel from Bangladesh into a floating restaurant. The tower after completion would be the tallest in Asia.
The sky tower, under the PPP mode, is estimated to cost around Rs 100 crore. The project is designed by a Swiss-German company and was proposed by a Hyderabad-based entertainment agency.
The project was proposed in 2015 during partnership and the proponents had also signed an MoU with the state government. However, the project was shelved until it was picked up again recently. The Cabinet also approved a tunnel aquarium worth Rs 163 crore being developed by the same company in collaboration with a Turkish agency. This will come up at Thotlakonda beach and will be one of its kind in the country.
The highlight among the projects was the conversion of an abandoned merchant vessel MV MAA into a floating restaurant, under the PPP mode. The main features include a banquet hall, 30 rooms and a multi-cuisine restaurant. The vessel had run aground at Tenneti Park, close to Kailasagiri Hills. The vessel will be repaired at a cost of Rs 10.5 crore. The APTDC will be acquiring the vessel shortly.
Among the other projects, the Cabinet approved the Bhimili-Bhogapuram beach corridor which will be a major attraction. The project is estimated to cost Rs 1,021 crore. All along the beach road, beach fronts will be developed and hanging and suspension bridges will be built on River Gosthani. Bhimili beach will get a seaplane terminal, jetty for cruise tourism and a marina. The centuries old Dutch Cemetery will also get a face lift. Cottages will come up at Annavaram village on the beach road.
The Buddhist heritage sites at Thotlakonda and Bavikonda will also be developed in a major way. The Cabinet also approved development of the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park at an estimated cost of Rs 137 crore.