Hyderabad: To promote Andhra Pradesh as an attractive tourist destination, state government has decided to rope in ace shuttler Saina Nehwal as its new brand ambassador.
"Saina has consented to be our brand ambassador. We will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard," state Tourism Secretary Jayesh Ranjan told reporters.
Saina, currently the world number two woman shuttler, is expected to take up her new assignment on September 27, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day.
"I feel honoured and privileged at being chosen as the brand ambassador of AP Tourism. I hope to continue my good performance in badminton by putting in best efforts," said Saina, who is preparing to leave for Paris to take part in the World Championships commencing on August 23.
Andhra Pradesh Tourism Minister J Geeta Reddy said, "She travels widely not only across India but also other countries to participate in various tournaments. Given her current status in the world of badminton, Saina can promote Andhra Pradesh and improve our tourism also."
Saina made a hat-trick of international titles recently. She had clinched Indian Open Grand Prix at home, followed by Singapore Open Super Series and then retained Indonesian Open Super Series title in Jakarta.
Though hailing from Haryana, Saina has made Hyderabad her home now.
Saina`s coach and former All-England Champion Pullela Gopichand too had been appointed Brand Ambassador of Andhra Pradesh Tourism following his success in the international badminton circuit.
India`s woman tennis star Sania Mirza had also earlier donned the role of brand ambassador of the coastal state. But with Mirza gradually fading out because of her poor show in international circuit, Saina is now hogging the limelight.
Tourism industry in Andhra Pradesh has grown 16 per cent in 2009 with tourist arrivals touching 127 million mark, including 7.60 lakh foreigners.
The state gets most number of domestic tourists, followed by Uttar Pradesh, according to official sources.