The tourism department of Andhra Pradesh has planned to boost rural tourism to highlight the image of rural Andhra Pradesh, by establishing homestays in rural areas that are less explored by tourists. As part of this plan, the department has identified 37 villages in 13 districts of AP which have the scope for tourism development.A?

Of these 37 villages, 17 villages have been finalised and five clusters have also been formed. 3 to 4 villages will be put together in each cluster and a single tour package would be designed for each cluster.

The first phase of rural tourism will be launched on September 27 on the occasion of World Tourism Day.

These tours would give public the chance to interact with village folks for experiencing the rural lifestyle. The accommodation would be homestay or tents, equipped with AC or Non AC, depending upon the place. Tourists can explore the specialities of the villages like making of leather puppetry, the art of Kalamkari, lac products etc.

The tourism department has roped in agencies like Green Routes, Wonder Trails, ALC and few more to research more on this concept. In the first phase, three clusters in Anantapur, Tirupati and East Godavari districts have been finalised.

Himanshu Shukla, Chairman of APTDC cited that Andhra Pradesh recognises rural tourism as an important instrument for sustainable livelihood of the rural people and by promoting homestays, the department intends to keep the concept of Atithi Devo Bhava in the forefront. Also, it gives a different experience for the tourists, who want to experience the authentic village atmosphere.