Amid rising speculations that the Andhra Pradesh government might set up floating casinos off the Visakhapatnam coast, the state’s tourism officials have rubbished the media reports claiming the same.
As per reports that have been making rounds over the past few days, the Andhra Pradesh government has been mulling the feasibility of floating casinos in Visakhapatnam, similar to the model in Goa. The reports further claimed that the state government has reached out to the Centre seeking permission to proceed with the proposal. This move, a section of media claimed, was aimed at generating revenue given the financial crunch in Andhra Pradesh.
Responding to these claims, CEO of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Authority (APTA) and Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) MD Pravin Kumar, on Tuesday, clarified that there are no plans to set up floating casinos in Visakhapatnam or elsewhere in the state.
Tourism is one of the key revenue generators in Visakhapatnam. Boasting of several beaches, the city has been developed as a hub for water sports over the years. However, the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation has seen the tourism sector take a severe hit in the past few months. The water sports industry too has witnessed a slump given the curb on several activities amid the virus threat.
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to set up a world-class cruise terminal in Visakhapatnam. Touted to be one of the major upcoming tourist attractions in the city of destiny, the terminal is likely to be opened in 2021. A total of Rs 77 crores has been sanctioned for this project. While 10 acres have already been allotted for this project, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust is currently looking to extend it further.