File Courtesy: Anuradha Reddy
AP Tops Chart of Domestic Tourist Visits in 2012

The undivided Andhra Pradesh had emerged as the "most-preferred" tourist destination for domestic travellers with about 20 per cent share in the total domestic tourist visits of over 103 crore across India in 2012, a study said today.

Clocking the compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 85 per cent, the undivided AP recorded a significant surge in domestic tourist arrivals in the state, which crossed 20 crore mark in 2012 from a level of 11 crore in 2006, according to the study titled 'Indian Tourism Industry: The Way Forward' conducted by Assocham.

However, the erstwhile AP did not figure in the list of top 10 states in terms of foreign tourist arrivals in India as the state attracted only about 2.9 lakh foreign tourists in 2012, while in 2011 the figure stood at 2.6 lakh.

With investments of over Rs 6,800 crore, the erstwhile AP ranked fifth with 5.7 per cent share among 20 major states attracting total investments worth over Rs 1.2 lakh crore in hotels and tourism industry across India, said the study prepared by the Assocham Economic Research Bureau (AERB).

"There is a huge scope for luring investments from the private sector in the two new states - Telangana and residual Andhra Pradesh- that are endowed with abundant entrepreneurial talent, highly competent bureaucracy and forward-looking political leadership," said D S Rawat, national secretary general of Assocham, while releasing the findings of the chamber's study here.

"There is a need for both the state governments to provide clear land bank policies for improving the physical infrastructure in order to attract new investments in the hospitality sector in their respective states," he added.

"They should also develop the tourism sector based on their respective core natural strengths. Besides, they should also conduct tourism fair and festivals for showcasing the rich cultural heritage on a regular interval."

Rawat said developing trained manpower possessing requisite soft skills is also very essential for them to emerge as India's top tourist destinations and the same can be done by conducting short-term training programmes with focused skill development catering to people engaged in hotels, travel agencies, staff at railway stations, bus stands, staff and guides at monuments.

"There is tremendous scope to develop star-rated hotels across both the new states to offer quality experiences as second tier cities in the country hold huge potential to drive up the hotel and tourism industry," Rawat said, adding, the state governments should develop tourism circuits through conjunction of sites as a package in order to offer the tourists a more complete experience.

Public-private partnership (PPP) framework must be adopted to build and manage tourist facilities by laying down industry standards, ethics and practices, ensuring preservation and protection of tourist attractions, he added.

"Driven by the growing middle class with rising disposable incomes and ever-evolving lifestyles, domestic tourism offers tremendous growth potential for growth and development of India's overall tourism industry," noted the study.

"There is a need to promote domestic tourism as it spurs job creation, especially in the marginal, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), promotes entrepreneurship and accentuates demand for different categories of hotels."

The erstwhile AP, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra are the top five states with the highest share in domestic tourist arrivals. Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan had the highest share in attracting foreign tourist arrivals.

Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Odisha are leading states attracting significant investments in hotels and tourism industry, it was stated.

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