AP is a safe destination for tourists: CM

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Hyderabad, Nov 1 (UNI) With creation of elite intelligence-cum-combat outfit 'OCTOPUS' to fight terror in the wake of recent incidents of bomb blasts, Andhra Pradesh has become a safe destination for domestic and foreign tourists, Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said today.

Inaugurating the tourism festival of Andhra Pradesh coinciding with the state formation day, he said creation of 'OCTOPUS' (Organisation to counter terrorist operations) comprising 1.34 lakh police personnel had sent a clear cut message to terrorists that the government and people could not be cowed down.

''Nowhere else such an organisation has been created in a decision taken during a single cabinet meeting,'' he claimed.

The successful conduct of the World Military Games after the ''incidents'' showed 'Hyderabad as the best place for holding major international events,' he added.

Describing the government as only a facilitator for tourism promotion, he stressed the need for public-private partnership to showcase the cultural heritage of Andhra Pradesh to domestic and foreign tourists for the economic betterment of the people in the state.

He noted with satisfaction that the loss-making Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation had turned around, making a net profit of Rs 90 crore last year and all set to cross the Rs 100 crore mark this year.

The state, which had attracted maximum tourist domestic traffic of 5.34 million domestic tourists, would strive to double this figure soon, State Tourism Development Corporation Chairman T K Deewan said.

The government proposed to take up tourism projects worth Rs 100 crore with Central assistance this year, Tourism and Culture Principal Secretary G Sudhir said.

UNI

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