Thanks To India’s Prime Minister Modi, The Islands Of Lakshadweep Will See Dramatic New Tourism Development

India’s smallest territory, Lakshadweep, is emerging as a must-see destination, with Indian tourists and forward-thinking experiential visitors. The area made headlines following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vacation in January when he posted multiple images of the stunning islands to promote tourism in the region. His heavy praise of Lakshadweep was construed as an attempt to lure tourists away from the Maldives. Soon after negative criticism came from a few ministers in the Maldives, an Indian “boycott” started, resulting in a 33% drop in visitors from India.

It is easy to see that the Prime Minister loves the region so much. Lakshadweep is comprised of 36 stunning tropical islands, including ten inhabited ones. The Indian government’s aim in new development is to adopt a sustainable tourism model due to its eco-sensitive destination. India plans to project the island archipelago as an alternative to the Maldives for tourists.

The proposed development includes branded luxury resorts, hotels, and improved beaches rivaling the Maldives. The initial focus of development will be the Minicoy, Suheli Par, Agatti, and Bangaram islands.

New Airport

Currently, the islands depend on flights from Kochi (Kerala). The Indian government has proposed the construction of a new airfield on Minicoy Island. The development of this airport will help boost tourism around Lakshadweep and enhance India’s surveillance capabilities over the Arabian Sea and Indian Pacific Sea. Currently, the only airport in Lakshadweep is on the island of Agatti, located approximately 185 miles away from Minicoy. The Agatti Island airport plans a significant expansion as more airlines line up to start operations.

New Resorts

Several resorts exist on Bangaram Island, Agatti Island, and Minicoy Island in Lakshadweep. Prominent Indian hotel chains are actively seeking additional locations in the area to establish more luxurious accommodations. The Taj Group has unveiled plans to introduce new hotels on the Suheli and Kadmat islands by 2026, with the Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) overseeing the development.

The Taj property on Suheli, a beautiful ring-shaped island surrounded by a coral reef enclosing a lagoon, will offer 110 rooms, including 50 over-water villas and 60 beach villas. Inspired by similar villas in the Maldives, this could become a game-changer for the islands. The Taj Hotel on Kadmat will offer 110 rooms, including 75 beach villas and 35 over-water villas. Kadmat Island is well known for its coral reefs, large lagoon, and protected marine area with sea turtle sanctuary.

Mr. Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IHCL, said, “The sustainability-focused development will aim to create a minimal footprint while preserving the fragile ecosystem in yet another unexplored location. We see significant potential in Lakshadweep, with its pristine beaches and coral reefs set amongst the Arabian Sea. The two world-class Taj resorts will attract international as well as national travelers.”

Praveg Limited, a leader in eco-responsible luxury resorts in India, will be among the developers launching in the region. They plan to develop 200 luxury tents on Thinnakara Island and 150 tents on Bangaram Island, including active excursions and high-end amenities.

Vishnu Patel, Chairman of Praveg Limited, is thrilled with the new development. He stated, “It is with immense pride that we embark on this journey to enhance the beauty and accessibility of Bangaram and Thinnakara Islands through our eco-friendly and luxurious hospitality solutions. We deeply thank the Lakshadweep Tourism Department for their confidence in Praveg. We are excited to introduce our guests to an unparalleled experience of sustainable luxury through the Praveg Tent City project.”

Environmental Concerns

With a priority of pushing for sustainable hospitality, the new resorts are promoting their willingness to minimize environmental impact while maintaining preservation of the ecosystem of this mostly undeveloped region.

However, development plans are not without critics. According to a study by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology, and Environment (KSCSTE), “Lakshadweep’s coral reefs face threats from pollution, dredging of navigational channels, coral mining, and destructive practices like blast fishing. The sea-level rise triggered by global warming is also heavily impacting the archipelago’s highly fragile beaches and sand dunes.”

Prime Minister Modi

Prime Minister Modi highlighted the government’s commitment to environmental conservation and sustainable tourism practices of the region while promoting economic development. The Prime Minister announced strategic initiatives aimed at improving connectivity, enhancing accommodation facilities, and upgrading visitor amenities. The inauguration of new airports, expansion of port facilities, and investment in tourism infrastructure projects have not only facilitated easier access to Lakshadweep but also elevated the overall tourist experience, making it more convenient and enjoyable for travelers.

The Islands

Agatti currently has the only airstrip in Lakshadweep and boasts one of the most gorgeous lagoons.

Kadmat measures only five miles in length and 1800 feet in width. The island boasts a beautiful shallow lagoon on its west side, making it an ideal spot for water sports.

Minicoy, located about 124 miles south of the northern group, is isolated from the main group of islands. It boasts one of the largest lagoons and is home to a cluster of 11 tribal villages.

Minicoy is the only island in Lakshadweep with three large shipwrecks, believed to be those of the S.S. Hoechst and other ships. These wrecks are virtual underwater museums, and the fish species found here are larger than average.

Kalpeni, together with two smaller islets Tilakkam and Pitti, and the uninhabited island of Cheriyam in the north, forms a single atoll. One interesting feature of Kalpeni is a large storm bank made up of coral debris that can be found along its eastern and southeastern shorelines.

Kavaratti is the most developed island and serves as the administrative headquarters. There are 52 mosques located throughout the island.

Getting There

Lakshadweep is accessible by both flight and cruise ship from Kerala’s Kochi city. You can reach Agatti and Bangaram islands by taking a flight (which takes approximately 90 minutes) from Kochi. It’s important to note that currently only Agatti Island has an airstrip. During the season, boats are available to Kavaratti and Kadmat from Agatti.

Source link


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Enquiry Form