VISAKHAPATNAM: Union tourism minister G. Kishan Reddy said a comprehensive tourism policy, which would augment income and create large-scale employment in the country, will be unveiled in the next union budget session.
Addressing a press conference in Visakhapatnam on Tuesday, he said tourism bore the brunt when Covid-19 struck India and is yet recover. The new policy will aim at reviving the tourism sector, accelerate its growth in both foreign and domestic tourism in a sustainable and responsible manner, position India as a safe, hygienic and accessible destination, provide seamless connectivity and promote startups, MSMEs and investments in tourism sector.
“We have 97 hotel management colleges across the country. Soon, a tourism university will be started to provide skills to entrepreneurs as well as the government officials dealing with tourism,’’ the minister said. He disclosed that the government is considering giving industry status to tourism sector, so that it could be extended GST and other benefits.
Kishan Reddy pointed out that Andhra Pradesh has 11 ports. Each of them will have a cruise terminal for tourists. As cruises attract tourists from all over the world, he has asked Visakhapatnam Port authorities and local administration to complete the cruise terminal at the port by next November. The central government has sanctioned Rs 100 crore for the purpose, he stated.
Lauding AP government for launching its tourism policy, the union minister said the state has huge potential for attracting domestic and foreign tourists. He asked state tourism minister Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao and officials to complete the four tourism circuits in state at the earliest by providing infrastructural facilities, including tourism guides at all heritage centers, temples and popular resorts.
Srinivasa Rao was also present at the press briefing. Earlier in the morning, Kishan Reddy visited all the Buddhist shrines in Visakhapatnam.