Once decommissioned from service in June this year, the world’s oldest aircraft carrier used by Indian Navy, INS Viraat, will be converted into a luxury hotel cum museum. The Defence Ministry has given go ahead to such a proposal raised by Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC). After nearly six decades of serving the Indian Navy by sailing across oceans, INS Viraat will get ready to start with its new journey from this year end. The warship will thereby help in promoting tourism in Andhra Pradesh.
According to Andhra Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, this warship turned 500-room luxury hotel will be docked at the shores of the port city of Visakhapatnam and serve as an exclusive tourist attraction. Apart from 500 rooms, INS Viraat will also have a conference hall with a seating capacity of 500 people. Its conversion into a luxury hotel-cum-ship museum will be jointly pioneered by Indian Navy and Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA). The central government will also contribute towards the project. Andhra CM also revealed that tourism-related activities like yachting, sea sports, sailing, gliding, cruising and others may also be allowed on the warship.
The 28,700-tonne aircraft carrier is presently on its last operational tour of duty. The last British ship was inducted into Indian Navy on May 12, 1987. Visakhapatnam is the only Indian city to have the country’s submarine museum and with the introduction of INS Viraat as a hotel-cum-museum, the city is going to make optimum utilization of its long coastline and multiple beaches, which in turn will take tourism to greater heights.