‘’Of course, 2019 will be very very good milestone for Lakshadweep, as the Island is going to witness a new leap in tourism sector,’’ Mr Khan said, expresseing his dreams, by sharing the developmental activities to be executed in the coming years with a UNI correspondent, who visited Kavarathi, the headquarters of Lakshadweep Islands, recently.
‘’We have good potential in tourism sector and we are going to exploit maximum of it without inflicting any adverse impact to the pristine natural beauty as well as its eco-system, the world’s wonderful and beautiful corals and awesome underwater life,’’ he added.
Indicating that there would be large number of resorts to become functional by the end of the 2019, he said ‘’large number people had already takem initiatives to start small resorts, and some others are in contact with major players in this field from the mainland.’’
Though there had’t been any change in the arrival of tourists during this season and continued as almost same as the previous year, the Lakshadweep Administrator said and expressed the hope that from next year onwards there would be huge increase of tourists, thanks to the various initiatives to be implemented by the Administration.
‘’We hope to see a major increase in the number of tourists, hopefully from next year,’’ Mr Khan said, adding that in view of the anticipated increase of tourists in next year, it was expected to add another 130 beds to accommodate tourists in various homestays and resorts which will be completed by next year.
Asked about any protests from the Islanders in setting up resorts by major players in this field from the mainland, he said ‘’absolutely no. They are supporting, they have themselves contacted with major players in this field to start joint ventures and the Administration will be the facilitators.’’
Mr Khan also informed that strict instructions had issued to those who wanted to set up resorts in the Island to follow the tourism policies and guidelines of the Lakshadweep. Also entrepreneurs are directed that 80 per cent of the employment should be provided to Islanders.
‘’In the wake of huge tourism expansion programme we have advised our boys and girls to undergo relevant hospitality courses. We have made mandatory that 80 per cent employments should be from the Islanders,’’ he added.
Regarding the activities of projecting the Lakshadweep Tourism, the Administrator, who is always keen for the overall development of the Islanders, said that ‘’we have already initiated various initiatives in this regard. Since major chunk of tourists are from Europe, we are looking forward in the International Tourism fare and our attention and focus mainly would on European countries.’’
However, Mr Khan made it clear that the Administration committed to protect the beauty of the Island, eco-system, beautiful coral and the culture of the Islanders and there was no compromise on it while developing and promoting tourism in a big way.
When pointed out to him the difficulties meted out on the travelling problem by the tourists, especially foreigners, Mr Khan said that the Administration was seriously thinking about the introduction of sea planes operating from the Island.
‘’We are seriously thinking about the possibilities of sea plane like Maldives Islands. Once the project is materialised the problem would be solved. We are hundred per cent sure that the sea plane services by an Indian company would be materialised by next year.’’
Stating that there would be no resistance from the fishing community for operating the sea plane from the Island, he said the operation of sea plans would any way affect the fishermen.
Admitting that some private operators had expressed their willingness and approached the Administration and we are in the process of identifying the locations and issuing licence for constructing water drums.
Mr Khan also indicated that the sea planes would be operated from Agathi, Minicoy and Kavarathi and if customers wanted planes from Cochin airport, it would also be considered according to the market need. The Administration had already got sanction for a 250 seating capacity ship, exclusively for tourism. The design of the ship is in the final stage and it was expected to complete in 16 to 18 months, Mr Khan informed.
The Insides Speak.