Andhra Pradesh currently tops in domestic arrivals with a whopping 11.17 crore tourists streaming in from across the country constituting 24 per cent of domestic travellers in the country, and 7.69 lakh foreign travellers accounting for nearly 6 per cent of international tourists (2007 statistics, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India). However, unlike Kerala, Goa, and even Karnataka, tourism is not what comes to mind when one thinks of Andhra Pradesh. Being a highly liberalised state obviously this is fast changing and the Government of Andhra Pradesh has ambitious plans with its focus on tourism as a major money-spinner and foreign exchange earner. Andhra Pradesh vision 2020 sees tourism as generating large-scale employment, particularly in small services. It expects to leverage on its historical, religious, and leisure sites, existing or potential, on which it can build a considerable tourism sector, its central location in India, and its long coastline. Similarly, Andhra Pradesh has ventured on an aggressive promotional drive, in an effort to boost tourism both at national and international levels. With a vision, ‘Bring the world to AP’, and ‘Take AP to the world’, the government plans to make the state the ultimate destination in India by the year 2020.
EQUATIONS interventions in Andhra Pradesh focuses on the rights of local communities to participate in tourism development project decisions. We also work ensure people and communities greater access, control and ownership over their natural resources, livelihood and benefits in the context of tourism. In recent years, we have helped establish networks on tourism issues particularly in coastal areas of the state targeted for intensive tourism development.
Our interventions in Andhra Pradesh have been more intensive since 2006. We initiated and held series of discussions in Vishakhapatnam, East Godavari districts, West Godavari districts and at Hyderabad with groups who are working on fishermen, tribal and environmental issues. The linkages between investment plans, infrastructure development and tourism promotion in identified tourism destinations became clearer. Through RTI (Right to Information) caravans in Vishakhapatnam and East Godavari organised by the local Keratam network, local communities were assisted in garnering information about the governments investments plans in the region.
EQUATIONS produced Mahua Memoirs directed by Vinod Raja of Grassroots Media Pvt Limited as film about the impact of large mining projects on adivasi lives. Collaborating with Samata an NGO that has focussed on mining and adivasis in AP, a screening of Mahua Memoirs along with an exhibition in September 2007 brought in a large number of networks and partners.
To know more about the impacts of tourism on local communities, we conducted preliminary fact findings in Araku, Vishakapatnam and Kolleru, all sites for intensive tourism development. However in all these sites local people were not considered as relevant stakeholder for information about these plans, let alone consultation and approval. The fact findings, conducted in participatory ways helped local people understand the implications of intensive mass tourism in their regions. Sometimes local communities take a position different from the perspective that we bring in. The Government of AP plans to develop an "Integrated Tourism & Township Project" on 800 hectares of land on the banks of Penna River near Gandikota Fort in Kadapa district. In our interactions with the community and Panchayat representatives they said that they wanted the tourism project and would tackle its impacts when it arose.
Following the successful RTI campaign, Fishermen Youth Welfare Association, an organisation we work closely with in Vishakhapatnam district launched a campaign against tourism construction violations on the coast. They approached the High Court of Andhra Pradesh based on whose orders the district administration started demolishing tourism and other constructions which violate the CRZ. This has proved to be of great encouragement to local communities.
We have worked consistently to build awareness among local governance panchayat representatives in all our interventions. In June 2008 in a workshop on ‘Panchayat Rights & Tourism’ at Vishakhapatnam in collaboration with AP State Panchayat Sarpanchs Forum over 300 Sarpanchs participated. We spoke about rights and duties of the Panchayat, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) Policy, Impacts of Tourism, SEZ/STZ issues and use of Right to Information.
Click on the ‘Resources’ tab above to read Andhra Pradesh State Networking Programme related papers, publications and presentations.
Click on the ‘Key Interventions’ tab above to know about Andhra Pradesh State Networking Programme related campaigns, events and interventions.