Almost after two months of lockdown in Visakhapatnam District, tourist spots in the agency area, like Araku, reopen for the tourists. Soon after curfew was announced on May 2, the tourism spots in the Araku and Lambasingi were shut down completely to avoid the spread of the virus. This has given a huge loss of revenue for the Tourism Department in Araku Valley which receives major footfalls during the summer season. In fact, citizens of Vizag who always choose Araku and Lambasingi as a weekend getaway have missed their time spent in these scenic areas.
From Tuesday, all tourist spots in Araku agency and Lambasingi reopen for the entry of visitors. Major tourism spots include Tribal Museum, Coffee Museum, Borra Caves, Adventure sports, Padmapuram Gardens in Araku agency, Chaparai waterfall in Dumbriguda mandal, Kothapalli waterfall in G Madugula mandal, Lambasingi view, Vanjangi in the agency areas.
Speaking to Yo! Vizag, Divisional Manager of APTDC Prasad Reddy said, “All the tourist spots have been reopened after a month, but we have instructed the tourism staff to follow Covid-19 norms and make sure visitors maintain social distancing and wear masks while wandering in the spots. All the tourist spots will be open till 6 pm. Meanwhile, resorts and hotels at the agency area where there will be tourist footfalls are told to go for regular sanitisation of the premises.”
Soon after the relaxation timings were extended till 6 pm from Monday, the youth of Visakhapatnam were seen wandering outside at the beaches, Rushikonda, Bheemili. It is found that many youngsters have planned long rides to Araku to enjoy the scenic views. Ever since the pandemic situation became worse in terms of the number of cases, there have been many who visited the Araku agency for the weekends spreading the virus at the agency too. Tribals who were till then in the safe zone were worried about the virus and asked the tourists not to enter the agency.
Agency areas, especially Araku Mandal, have been major tourist spots for people in other states. Every year, especially, the summer season records the highest tourist falls with people visiting from cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. This pandemic has caused tourism officials’ loss of income generation from the tourism spots. To balance the revenue generation, Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) has supplied food for Covid-19 patients during the pandemic.