Hyderabad: Eco-tourism, adventure tourism and homestays have immense potential in Telangana with significant local employment opportunities. Thus it is crucial to harness full potential of niche tourism, said a while paper on tourism released by the CII here on Firday.
Telangana is developing two mega circuits for promoting eco-tourism and tribal-tourism. Similar plans should be made for pilgrimage and heritage circuits. The circuit development should include restoration and beautification of heritage Forts, palaces, temples and places of religious importance, it said.
A tourism advisory council to facilitate industry inputs, emerging trends, project structuring, industry concerns, tourism marketing and investment promotion is also needed, it said.
About 85 million tourists visited Telangana in 2017 and the State stood sixth and 16th respectively in the domestic and foreign tourists with a share of 20.8 and 18.08 per cent. Since 2014, the foreign tourists have grown exponentially at 400 per cent from 75,171 to 3.68 lakh in 2017. This rise could be attributed to the promotion of MICE and wellness tourism along with robust infrastructure of the State, the whitepaper said.
The domestic tourists rose from 72 million in 2014 to 85 million in 2017, growing at 18 per cent. Most tourists visit the State from November to February and the concentration is limited to 3-4 districts like Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Warangal and Karimnagar. Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy are the preferred districts for both foreign and domestic tourists.
The current major tourism themes are – culture, nature and ecotourism, MICE, religious and medical.
State’s tourism strengths include rich history and presence of numerous historic monuments and a vibrant culture. Good connectivity, accommodation and tourist amenities in Hyderabad, flourishing medical and MICE tourism, famous Hyderabadi delicacies, presence of large number of non-resident Telugu population visiting every year are among the factors that augur well for the tourism, the document said.
However, foreign travellers are concentrated around Hyderabad, Ranga Reddy, Warangal and Mahbubnagar . The State also suffers from lack of equitable distribution of tourism revenues to local communities. Also, there is no dedicated tourism policy. There is limited online marketing/brand development, it pointed out.
“Telangana can devise a planned approach to address the various challenges in the sector. There is a need for a comprehensive Tourism policy,” it said.
Focus should be on developing a few important destinations rather than setting up several new attractions in every possible location. “Tourism circuits need to be identified and connectivity infrastructure needs to be enhanced to a level of seamless intra-circuit connectivity,” it said adding that effort should be to address challenges like seasonality and regional concentration of tourists. “It may be appropriate to demarcate two or three zones in the State apart from Hyderabad,” CII said.
Investments should be encouraged in tourism Infrastructure such luxury hotels, budgeted accommodation units, resorts and other recreational facilities with appropriate policy support. The State should also address the need for skilled manpower, which is a major challenge in the tourism industry, it said.
CII Telangana Past Chairpersons V Rajanna and Vanitha Datla, Pragathi Resorts chairman and managing GBK Rao, CII Telangana culture and tourism panel co-convener Anindita Mookerjee, Tourism Development Corporation managing director B Manohar Rao, Travel World managing director Sunil Kumar, Novotel and HICC Complex general manager Manish Dayya and Applied Syntax partner Indersen and others attended.
Telangana brings back tourism into focus
Telangana Government is now working on a strategy that will promote tourism in a big way in the next five years. It will include the irrigation projects in the state, temple towns, heritage and other circuits in the plans to cater to diverse tourists. The State is aware of the economic and employment generation potential of tourism and is working to tap the same, said Telangana Tourism Minister V Srinivas Goud.
Speaking at the Tourism 4.0 Destination Telangana- Linking heritage, tradition and technology for a sustainable tourism, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry and Telangana Tourism, the minister said the State, he said the State is keen on generating large scale employment in the tourism sector. For this, it will focus will be on using the available resources to the optimum.
“Tourism is the best and the fastest way to create employment in the State. The Government of Telangana is committed to build to a strong tourism strategy in the years to come. By 2027, travel industry is expected to account for three million employment directly,” he said.
Telangana and many of its cities have historical significance. Warangal, Mahbubnagar, Karimnagar and other districts have a string of temples, which can attract a lot of tourists. “Several irrigation projects are coming up in the State. Kaleswaram project will be launched in two weeks. We are developing tourism spots around this and the State has already announced projects worth Rs 100 crore. This will be the biggest irrigation project in India and it has been completed in about just three years,” the minister said about the newest man-made wondrer, which will change the irrigation landscape of the State.
“There are many islands and reservoirs in the making and all of these hold tourism potential. We will develop tourism spots based on these. Telangana has been a meeting pot of cultures. There are varied festivals that that are celebrated in the State that reflect its pluralistic fabric. Telangana is also developing temple tourism with Yadadri temple, being developed at a cost of more than Rs 500 crore, in the lead. Bhadrachalam, Vemulawada, 1000-Pillar temple are other prominent places,” Goud said.
Hyderabad has been one of the top destinations for healthcare and wellness tourism due to cost advantages and availability of trained resources. About 2,000 people are coming to Hyderabad every month for accessing medical facilities, he said.
With intent on attracting more international tourists, Telangana’s focus is improving inter-district connectivity, conducting special tours at the district level and connecting geographical indicator locations, he said. “We will attract investments in to the sector. We will also have brand ambassadors,” he said.
Tourism department Principal Secretary B Venkateshwam said Hyderabad is rightly placed to give a combined feel of heritage, tradition and technology . “We have everything but we are not unable to reap benefits from them,” he said.
Many countries attract tourists about 150 per cent of their population. For instance, France gets 90 million, Spain 80 million and Bangkok 30 million tourists. But India is not in the list,” he said.
“Aiming for tourists equal to just ten per cent of the population size will create multiple investment options in the hospitality industry. There will be many jobs that will be created,” the official said.
“City like Hyderabad is comparable to Istanbul. We have technology, pharma and modernity and others. But what we are lacking is how to showcase it. In terms of number of hotel rooms, India is not in the reckoning. We have only 75,000 rooms that are up to international livable standards. In Hyderabad, the number could be just 7,000-8,000 rooms. Even if we stretch, it may touch 10,000 rooms max,” he said.