State yet to tap tourism potential in Anantapur

Thimamma Marri Manu, the largest banyan tree in the world, near Kadiri in Sathya Sai district
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Thimamma Marri Manu, the largest banyan tree in the world, near Kadiri in Sathya Sai district

Highlights

'Rethinking Tourism' is aptly announced as the theme for International Tourism Day on Tuesday.

Anantapur-Sathya Sai: 'Rethinking Tourism' is aptly announced as the theme for International Tourism Day on Tuesday. The undivided district has many tourist destinations including Lepakshi, Penukonda, Puttaparthi, Rayadurg, Gooty and several religious tourism destinations including Kadiri and Tadipatri. Thimamma Marri Manu, the largest banyan tree in the world is the pride of district near Kadiri in Sathya Sai district.

The government instead of paying lip service to the cause on celebrated days must rethink in tune with the global theme. Basic amenities must first be created at the historical sites of immense value. Transport facilities, guest accommodation, tourism hotels and drinking water availability should be made available at the tourism destinations. If the government has financial constraints, then public-private partnership mode should be introduced to rope in private investors. Nearby industries can also be asked to adopt a tourist spot and develop it on a build, operate transfer basis.

Department of Tourism should be activated and given a fillip by enriching it with liberal funds. Tourist destinations should be made commercially viable by integrating children friendly water sports projects involving corporate giants. Historical and Archeological tourist places must have even entertainment projects like the water world etc. By doing so children, students will evince interest in education tours provided entertainment is also integrated with, feels tourism observers. Tourism generates jobs and boosts local economy apart from providing livelihoods to several stakeholders.

"With the theme of 'Rethinking Tourism', the International Day of Observance will this year focus on re-imagining the sector's growth, both in terms of size and relevance. The proposal to form Rayalaseema tourist circuit should be implemented forthwith," says Travellers Association district president Suresh Babu. The potential of tourism is enormous and rural tourism too exposes people to rural life, traditions, culture, customs and to nature.

Even the silk sarees of Dharmavaram, garments of Rayadurgam and leather toys popularly known as Tholu Bommalu of Nimmalakunta have been a major tourism attraction both for domestic and international tourists. It is essential that such models are replicated in other parts of India to bring economic benefits from tourism to local communities to generate employment and bridge the cultural divide between urban and rural spaces.

Rayalaseema is speckled with tourist spots such as historic forts, monuments, sculpture and temples but many of them reflect a monumental neglect. What could be transformed into vibrant tourist hubs, languish in dilapidated state for want of attention, maintained Suresh, a tourism watcher.

Rayalaseema has many ancient temples, monuments and forts. Each is unique in its own way and every construction clearly depicts the richness of ancient art when modern facilities were unknown. The scenic landscapes and the ancient culture of these places take tourists a different world on our short tour of the land. There is an immediate need to connect all incredible landmarks in Rayalaseema and Bellary neighbouring Karnataka state. Next-generation will understand the valor of these places. The state and Central governments should plan to implement major tourism projects in PPP mode. Earlier this project also seems to have gone awry with not many investors showing interest despite MoUs signed for projects worth crores of rupees.

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