The Network of Indian MICE Agents (NIMA) recently organised a familiarization tour for around 40 tour operators and media in Vizag to experience the varied tourism offerings of the city. The 3-day educational tour was organised by Hotel and Restaurant Association of AP and Tours and Travels Agents Association with support from Andhra government and district administration. The objective of the fam was to understand the composite tourism profile of Visakhapatnam as well as to establish the city as MICE destination for domestic and overseas markets.
Speaking on the occasion, Gajesh Giridhar, President, NIMA, said that Visakhapatnam has varied tourism products. “Visakhapatnam has almost everything to offer and we have decided to have a destination showcase. The only thing lagging is the push to sell the destination. The first initiative we took is to have our partner in Andhra Pradesh. We opened NIMA’s first India chapter in Visakhapatnam. Goa is one of the destinations for MICE and we have agents who can convert Visakhapatnam into Goa. We need travel agents and operators to formulate a suitable itinerary. The next plan is to have a destination showcase in Delhi. We will invite 300 agents from North India for B2B meetings, destinations presentations and networking in coming months,” Giridhar said.
Extending all possible support to travel and tourism fraternity, Praveen Kumar, District Magistrate, Visakhapatnam opined that tourism is the core activity in the service. “Visakhapatnam is one of the safest cities in India. Visakhapatnam is the 5th cleanest city in India. There is a lot of tourism potential but we have to work together to realise this potential,” Kumar said adding that the state government is planning to build wayside amenities, resorts and other related tourism infrastructure and tourism products. The state government has earmarked Rs 200 crores for the beachfront development to give a boost to the tourism in the district. “The project is expected to be completed in two years. Seven beaches will be developed including R.K. Beach, Sagarnagar and Yendada etc.. Consultants have been approached by the government for the project. Apart from the beaches, the Simhachalam hill shrine would be developed on the lines of Tirupati,” he said.
He also said that there will be emphasis on health tourism as the city has 30 super speciality hospitals, including 21 in the health city. In the next three months, development activities of smart city would be taken up, he said.
He also informed that a Greenfield airport is coming up in the city which will provide a lot of confidence to go and target tourists not only from India and international. “The air connectivity is growing. Visakhapatnam airport currently operates 25 flights a day including 4-5 international destinations. These are the opportunities and the idea is how to convert the strength into opportunity,” he said.
The idea of the state government is to bring all stakeholders on one table to realise the tourism potential. “This meeting will go in a long way as far as tourism is concerned. I can see the potential for this event to make Visakhpatnam as one of the prominent destination. This activity will also definitely give confidence to investors to come and invest in city infrastructure,” Kumar said.
Jagdeep Bhagat, Founder Member & Coordinator – Branding, NIMA opined that an aggressive marketing and promotion is needed to position Visakhapatnam as a major tourism destination.