100,000 Leagues Under the Sea

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Lakshadweep Reports

The Lakshadweep Islands, under the administrative control of the Union Territory of Lakshadweep are well known for their natural beauty, scenic picnic spots, silver sandy islands, the lagoons, the coral wealth and the blue seas.  Hundreds of thousands of tourists, from India and abroad, are visiting these islands every year in large numbers.


The tourism front is, however, facing a number of constraints to cope up with the requirement of the large number of intending visitors.


On the one side there is great scope for developing the tourism potential in the Lakshadweep Islands.  On the other side, there are also very many constraints to achieve this goal. 


On the request of the Department of Tourism, Government of India, the experts of The Tata Economic Consultancy Services, Chennai have studied the situations prevailing in the Lakshadweep Tourism front in every detail and have submitted their report in January 2003, with a 20 year perspective plan for Tourism Development in Lakshadweep Islands, to the Department.

The following note gives a brief exposure to the study report of the Tata Economic Consultancy Services, Chennai, submitted to the Department of Tourism, Government of India, New Delhi in the year 2003.

The report is too exhaustive and comprises of chapters and volumes.  The full text of the studies are available on request. Although eight years have elapsed thereafter, the points emphasized by them are still relevant. 

Many of the proposals and suggestions for developing the tourism front of the Lakshadweep Islands still awaiting proper implementation.  Once they are implemented in the suggested levels, it will go a long way in totally changing the tourism scenario now available in Lakshadweep and a new tourism front matching Singapore can emerge there.

The Lakshadweep Forum can discuss the above in report among themselves, in the interest of the islanders and press the Government of India officials for implementation of the same, for the overall benefit of the people of Lakshadweep in socio-economic fields.

The studies of Tata Economic Consultancy Services is summarized herein below:

TATA have gone into every detail of the geographical and socio-economic background of the inhabitants of Lakshadweep Islands, the tourism potentials offered by the islands, the inadequacy of transportation and accommodation for the tourists.  Critical analysis has been made about the other factors responsible for the underdevelopment of the tourism industry in the islands.

Amongst the islands of Lakshadweep, 10 islands are inhabited and 26 are uninhabited.  They are located far off from each other.  The population in these islands are at higher level because the landed area in these islands are extremely small.  For want of enough vacant land, all land-based activities are restricted.  The real estate transactions are permitted only among the islanders.  Hence, outsiders cannot own assets in the island.  Any developmental process can take place only through contractual agreements of leasing for a period of specified number of years.  This is an impediment in this sector.


Many practical suggestions have been made to answer all the prevailing problems, keeping in view the vast potential for tourism development.  The suggestions also include the enhancement of transportation, accommodation facilities, developing the uninhabited islands, allowing privatization, liberalization of the entry permit system and also greater involvement of the islanders, especially the women folk in developing their talents especially in handicrafts making as well as other skills.


Promote tourism potential as comprehensive as possible in the next span of 20 years.
To identify and develop tourism assets in the islands in an optimum manner so that it could be enjoyed by the domestic and international markets, to benefit the economy.

Enhance transport service, accommodation, food, entertainment, sight seeing, escort service, interaction with the public are different components of tourism industry.  It requires meticulous planning and motivation to conduct the tourism activities in a pleasant and acceptable background.

There should be proper planning for sharing of the economic benefits of tourism development among all sections of the community. Promote privatization (domestic and international) to reduce the intervention of the Government. Plan these developments without affecting the environmental conditions and the cultural heritage of the islanders.

The two major economic activities in the islands are the fisheries sector, and coconut cultivation.  The islanders are not familiar with value added activities based on these two sources.  The coconut growers are unable to obtain proper value for their products. Tuna Fishing and trading is another major economic activity of the islanders. The islanders are therefore more dependent on Government support.


Tourism has turned out to be a major revenue earner throughout the world.  It will be apt and wise, therefore, to exploit the tourism potentials of Lakshadweep.  The spectacular beauty of the beaches, the corals and lagoons in the islands can be used for accelerated activities on the tourism front.  However, care must be taken to preserve the natural assets of the islands (sea and its environments) for bringing about continuous economic advantages to these islands.


In this context of uncertain scenario of economic activities by the islanders and the consequent heavy dependence on the Government support it is felt that the islands with their spectacular beauty of beaches, corals and lagoons, can be used for further promotion of tourism.


The most outstanding strength of the islands is their immensely attractive seascape and the marine wealth.  The blue water lagoon, corals, coral reefs, the un-spoilt virgin beaches are of great attraction to all tourists. Tourism has of late, evolved into a major revenue earner in the world over. While doing so, the natural assets of the islands (sea and its environs) are to be preserved and protected in such a manner that would bring about continuous economic advantages to the islands.


Despite the vast potentials as mentioned above, there are also many constraints in the tourism front of Lakshadweep.

  • Insufficient ship transportation facility from the mainland to Lakshadweep islands.
  • Constraints at embarkation and disembarkation.
  • Non-availability of an international airport, or even a large airport.
  • Inadequacy of inter-island ferry service in a faster and convenient manner.
  • Lack of good standard accommodation and food to those tourists who spent more than 24 hours at a place.
  • Absence of amusement parks, shopping arcades, entertainment plazas, fun cities, health resorts, trekking/skiing, adventure sports avenues etc.

  • It has to be mentioned that the local residents are extremely helpful and friendly in their warm interactions, which is of extreme importance in tourism promotion and tourist arrivals. The crime record is absent in the islands, which is ample testimony to the peace loving nature of the people and guarantee to the security of the tourists.


    It has been mentioned in the report by Tata Economic Consultancy that the passenger traffic between the mainland and the island has been increasing at a level of 8 to 9 percent over the years and it is likely to increase at a faster pace in future years due to increase in population and a high standard of living and per capita income. Hence their suggestion to acquire new ships are very important. The new ships along with the existing ones will considerably ease the present traffic problems. Their estimation is that “Even considering all these developments in the transport sector, acquisition of one 400 capacity passenger vessel or two more 250 capacity vessels may be required beyond 2010”.

    Tourism related projects and Government initiatives

  • A full-fledged Government Tourism Department under a Government Secretary with independent charge.
  • Full time Director for Department of Tourism, Information and Publicity.
  • Reorganization of SPORTS into Lakshadweep Tourism Development

  • Corporation with heavy dose of professionalism at all managerial levels.

  • Segregation of entire group of islands into 4 separate groups with Kadmat (Kadmat, Bitra, Kiltan, Chetlat, Ameni), Kavaratti (Kavaratti, Agatti, Suheli, Bangaram, Thinnakkara, Kalpitti, Parli), Kalpeni (Kalpeni, Andrott, Thilakkam, 1,2,3, Cheriyam, Pitti) and Minicoy (Minicoy and Viringili) as focal points. The SPORTS office at these centres will look after the entire gamut of developmental programmes in the respective islands.

  • Upgrading the aqua sports centre into a ‘centre of excellence’ in Kadmat island with improved equipments, training standards and modern facilities. Recognition by international institutions in this field and bringing highly qualified instructors and dive masters are part of this exercise. Constant vigil on upgrading the standards and its propagation in aqua sports markets of Europe is an extreme necessity.

  • Tourism development in Minicoy Island in terms of aqua sports facilities, quality accommodation and food facilities, health rejuvenation centre, houseboat luxury cruising, family entertainment centre are suggested as part of the Plan.

  • Andrott Island, which has not been brought under the tourism packages needs to be promoted by the strength of its various attractions. Development of ‘Moolah Beach’, creation of a theme park at jetty, light and sound programme at Juma Mosque, development of a Botanical garden at the central portion, promoting Jubilee Convention hall as a ‘corporate retreat’ for Board meetings / seminars, etc are some of the suggestions.

  • Thilakkam, Pitti and Cheriyam Islands lie closer to Kalpeni. Thilakkam, Pitti and Kalpeni can be connected by a ‘walking hanging bridge’. Thilakkam to be upgraded as a ‘sea bathing area’ with proper resting and fresh water bathing facilities.

  • It is suggested that Cheriyam Island, which lies about 2˝ kms away from Kalpeni, can be developed as an exclusive fun and entertainment island on the lines of ‘Sentosa‘ island in Singapore. Kalpeni – Cheriyam is proposed to be connected by a narrow bridge. Once these tourism attractions are developed there would be need for a few more staying cottages at Kalpeni.

  • The historical importance of Ameni can be exploited by taking Kadmat tourists to this island as day tourists. Beach volleyball and other games can be organized here. Once the work on the proposed breakwater jetty is completed further development of Ameni Island into a resort complex can be explored.

  • Kavaratti Island, the headquarters requires development in terms of decent accommodation and eating facilities. Further, gainful utilization of existing SPORTS facilities at the beach is suggested. It is also suggested to organise weeklong cultural programmes of music, dance, drama, etc. during the tourist season to improve the average length of stay.

  • Agatti – Bangaram – Goa can be developed into a ‘Tourist Circuit’ to take advantage of the beach tourists coming to Goa. Although Goa provides totally ‘free tourism’ the focus at Agatti and Bangaram would be on a different experience of ‘back to nature‘ concept.

    Another suggestion made in the report is to ensure availability of additional rooms for the occupation of the tourists in the islands, so as to answer the deficiency of adequate accommodation.


    In the second stream of development such as promotion of resort complexes in uninhabited islands may be fully entrusted to the private hotel chains and developers. Initially three islands like Thinnakkara. Parli, Suheli Valiyakara can be taken up on an experimental basis. It is also learnt that the Andamans and Nicobar Islands’ government has decided to lease out several islands to private hotel chains as part of tourism promotion. Taj, Oberois, Leela Penta, ITC, etc have started negotiations with the government for a fifty year period lease and other concessions.


    In order to take advantage of the increased level of activities and opportunities in the tourism sector in coming years, a qualified human resources base needs to be created in the island. In this context introduction of tourism curriculum at 10+2 level and College level is suggested. An Institute providing Diploma in Hotel Management and Catering is to be established either in Andrott or Minicoy. In order to provide employment opportunities to the women folk, training in tourism related ancillary skills (tour guides, tourist information service, ticket booking and logistics) may be provided through short-term courses. Apart from the above, handicrafts training centres giving preference to women candidates are also to be organized in important islands.


    Apart from these training proposals for the younger generation, on the job training in specific skills and operational areas is also suggested for the existing tourism operation staff.


    Various environmental issues that are likely to be of significant importance in the development process are discussed separately. Waste accumulation, limited physical carrying capacity, indiscriminate removal of natural vegetation, ground water shortage and quality parameters, protection of the corals and lagoon are the important areas of concern in this respect.


    The direct, indirect and induced benefits of tourism development are brought out in the form of income, employment generation and improvement in quality of life of the local beneficiaries. In the tourism activities such benefits largely emerge out of hotel and restaurant sector.


    Setting up of additional liaison offices of SPORTS in places like Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad and Lucknow is suggested to promote tour packages among domestic travelers.

    An image development programme especially in large tourism markets in the world through a professional creative team is to be organized along with the developmental efforts. An effective logo and slogan that would kindle the interest can be brought out through newspaper media and tourism / travel journals.


    Development Plans By Tourism Department

    The Department, as part of the 10th Five Year Plan programme has identified the following proposals.

    Rs. Lakhs

    Infrastructure and human resources development

    Training programme, health club facilities, water sports equipment curio shop, etc.


    Tourism market promotion

    Printing & publishing, tourism awareness campaign, participation in exhibitions / fairs


    Tourism development plan

    Opening of uninhabited islands and inhabited islands


    Equity increase - SPORTS

    LDCL participation


    Acquisition of a new ship

    New ship & speed boats


    Continuation of civil works

    Health club, water sports





    It is expected that once the transport bottlenecks are removed by introduction of an exclusive ship and speed boats, the tourism scenario in the island is likely to change for the better in future years. As part of the Perspective Plan growth strategy, we have recommended a number of proposals to promote tourism and improve the efficiency.

    Development Strategy


    Two distinct streams of tourism promotion will be pursued in future years Viz. one by expansion and consolidation of package tours and other attractions by SPORTS (re-christened as Lakshadweep Tourism Development Corporation Ltd) and opening up of uninhabited islands for resorts promotion, essentially by private promoters both national and international. In future projections of the tour package growth, The report have assumed three separate phases in the growth scenario:

    2000 – 01 to 2006 – 07

    Preparatory and initiation of various developmental processes including Government initiatives, etc. Growth rate expected : 8 percent

    2007 – 08 to 2013 – 14

    Implementation of various schemes and growth realization phase of actions taken earlier. Growth rate expected : 9 percent

    2014 – 15 to 2020 – 21

    Consolidation phase. Growth realization as well as expansion of tour packages to other islands depending on promotional programmes in respective islands. Growth rate expected : 10 percent


    Tour Packages:

    The tour packages are carried out based on the sailing schedule of the ships, which also cater to the travel needs of the islanders, which had been growing over the years. There is an element of un-certainity involved with the vessels and their itinerary. Many a times the travel schedules are changed to suit the requirement of islanders. Travel packages of tourists are altered based on these and hence a cause of irritation.

    It may be noted here that while making the tourist projections by tour packages the passenger ship carrying capacity is not factored into. It is expected that sufficient ship movement capacity will be made available according to the demand.

    Holiday Packages

    Paradise Hut Kavaratti Island

    Suheli Island excursion

    Agatti Island Beach Resort

    Kadmat Island Beach Resort

    Samudram - Ship Tour

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