The state government is planning to transform Vizag into a tourism hub, which is no new news. But tourists in the city feel that the tourism facilities could do with a lot of improvement. Tourists visiting the Fishing Harbour and wanting to ride aboard the Swarna Vihari boat reportedly feel that the present services could do with improvement before new projects are announced.
TOI inspected the boat’s conditions and interacted with tourists to conclude the same. Tourists have stated that everything from the road to the ticket counter, nothing was in proper shape. They feel misled upon reading in the media that the government plans to focus on tourism and yet to come here and find such state of affairs. The safety jackets, seats and even the seating area is reportedly not maintained at all.
The approach area is full of pot holes and yet again, a tourist area in Andhra Pradesh lacks eateries and toilets. The waiting area is also reportedly filled with seats from a broken tourist boat damaged during Hudhud, and the shed is made out of gunny bags. On top of it all, fishermen dry fish in front of the ticket counter, causing major inconvenience to tourists.
A tourism department official had stated that initially almost 1000 tourists used to come to the Fishing Harbour daily for the boat ride between September and January. But reportedly, half of them used to return due to the long wait, lack of shelters and refreshments, and more. The tourism department only runs one boat with a seating capacity of 40, and the boat takes 30 minutes per ride where it goes upto 2 KM into the sea.
The state government has in the past spent crores of rupees on international summits and is now coming up with a Tourism Conclave on February 24 & 25 to showcase the tourism potential of Vizag. And yet, they lack funds to develop something as basic as a boating facility. When TOI contacted APTDC Divisional Manager TV Sudarshana Rao, he said, “We have sent requests for one more boat and improvement of the boating facility to higher-ups. We are also planning to talk with Vizag Port Trust officials to allocate the jetty for running the tourism boats.”