VISAKHAPATNAM: There is still no clarity on the proposal to convert INS Viraat, the majestic aircraft carrier, into a museum, if the words of the Principal Secretary (Tourism) Srikanth Nagulapalli are any indication.
The Principal Secretary was in the city to participate in the Conference on ‘Destination Vizag: A Hidden Paradise of the East’, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry, here on Friday.
It may be recalled that the State government is planning to convert the ship into a floating hotel-cum-museum to promote it as a tourist attraction.
When his attention was drawn to the issue by the media on the sidelines of the conference, Mr. Srikanth said: “Vizag coast is prone to cyclones and separate berthing facility is required to place the ship. There is no space to berth the ship either at the Fishing Harbour or the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT).”
While describing INS Viraat as ‘our national heritage’, Mr. Srikanth said that it was an expensive project and the State government has sought the support of the Centre. When asked about the rumours of INS Viraat being sold for scrap, he remained non-committal but added that the project would depend on the decision of the Centre.
On the plans for attracting more tourists to the State, the Principal Secretary said that the goal was to bring in more ‘high income tourists’ by 5-star and luxury accommodation facilities. The target was to provide 1,000 luxury rooms this year.
Mr. Srikanth said that tourists and tour operators abroad were asking for six days, seven night itineraries to visit Vizag and the State. Tour operators from Vizag would be sent to the Tourism Mart to be held in Berlin in March this year to attract foreign tourists.
The Principal Secretary said that there was immense potential for promotion of leisure and heritage tourism and water sports in Visakhapatnam as also in other regions of AP.