Joy Roy Choudhury – Kolkata
The UT of Lakshadweep is expecting at least 20 per cent increase in domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in the coming fiscal. In order to strengthen its sales and marketing network in the country, Lakshadweep Tourism is appointing only IATO-accredited tour operators as their authorised marketing partners. “The administration has drawn up ambitious plans for developing tourism in the islands in the coming days. Various new islands are being explored for tourism opportunities and setting up resorts,” said AM Hussain, assistant director, Department of Tourism Development, Administration of UT of Lakshadweep.
The UT of Lakshadweep, through the Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), a nodal agency under the Lakshadweep Administration for promotion of tourism in the islands, is focusing on promoting ecotourism. “The primary aim of SPORTS is to promote ecotourism and recreational activities in the islands in association with the Lakshadweep Administration,” said Hussain. Various water sports activities are being promoted in a big way.
Admitting that the connectivity to the islands is an issue, Hussain stated, “To improve the connectivity to the islands, Lakshadweep Administration is exploring the possibilities of operating seaplanes to these islands. A preliminary study has already been done for the seaplane operations. The administration is also planning to procure dedicated ships for tourists. Connectivity will also get a boost with the commissioning of two new passenger ships later this year.”
There are also plans to increase the number of accommodation facilities in the coming years. SPORTS also acts as a hospitality and catering wing of the UT Administration. It operates tourist resorts at Kadmat, Minicoy and Kavaratti and also conducts package tour covering three islands – Minicoy, Kalpeni and Kavaratti.