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Andhra Pradesh unveils new tourism policy

Andhra

The Andhra Pradesh government today unveiled a new tourism policy that envisages attracting Rs 10,000-crore investments and creating five lakh additional jobs over the next five years in the sector.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu launched the ‘New Tourism Policy-2015-20’ and outlined its objectives at a function in Vijayawada.

The policy aims to develop AP as one of the most preferred tourist destinations through sustained investments, robust infrastructure projects and services, and provide world-class tourist experience, he said.

On first day of the policy implementation, leading tour operators from across the country signed MoUs with the state government entailing Rs 3,845 crore of investments or fund infusion on operations in AP, the Chief Minister said.

Under the new policy, the TDP-led government has decided to set up a single desk for all tourism sector-related clearances, which would be provided within 21 days, he said.

If a department fails to follow guidelines or clear applications within the stipulated period, the officials concerned would be fined and face action, Naidu said.

“The policy’s objectives are to facilitate investments in the tourism sector to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore, raise its contribution to 7 per cent of the state GDP and create 5 lakh additional jobs by 2020,” said the document.

“All projects with investment above Rs 200 crore, irrespective of the location, will be treated as mega tourism projects. Additional incentives and concessions on a case-to- case basis may be granted with nod from agencies concerned,” it added.

The document provides for incentives like reduction in VAT (from 14 to 5 per cent), reimbursement of land registration charges, waiver of entertainment tax for three years and lower rate of electricity tariff, among others, for tourism plans.

Stating that Andhra Pradesh with its long sea coast, rivers, hills, water reservoirs and several temples, Naidu said the state has potential and his government was keen to promote tourism as an engine for economic growth here.

The government will set up two bodies – Green & Landscape Corporation and Swachh Andhra Corporation – to improve forest cover and promote cleanliness, he said.

The Chief Minister appealed to state industrialists to enter into joint ventures with national tourism players.

Representatives from a number of hospitality and aviation firms like ITC, Taj, Leela Group, SpiceJet and Jet Airways attended the function.

The policy has been given shape with support from various departments, industry experts, inputs from Indian School of Business and consultancy firm KPMG.