The Andaman and Nicobar archipelago comprises 556 islands of which only 37 are inhabited. Before long, this number may rise to 40 or even more. The Andaman and Nicobar administration is planning to throw open 3-4 islands soon to attract more tourists. This will involve creation of infrastructure on these islands and will generate employment.
“We have identified a few islands for development. A large number of tourist attractions exist across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands but we are planning to do more to attract tourists. Unemployment and lack of opportunities continue to remain a major challenge before us. As ecological issues are involved, industrialization is not possible on these islands. Today, the government is the largest employer but this is not enough. More opportunities need to be created and tourism has to grow,” said Lt Gen (retd) A K Singh, Lieutenant Governor, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
According to him, between 2.4-2.5 lakh tourists visited the Andamans in 2013. This may seem a large figure but there is capacity for much more. The problem, according to Singh is the lack of sufficient tourists from abroad. One major reason for this is the non-availability of international flights. Though the Andamans is a hub for activities such as scuba diving, snorkeling and other adventure sports, more centres will have to be opened to attract international tourists who have already been to the islands in the past. This can only happen if new islands are opened.
“We also want to start night landing facilities at the Veer Savarkar International Airport at Port Blair. It is only an international airport in name. Though 96 international flights overfly Port Blair every day, not a single one lands here. In the next six months, we hope to have night landing facilities at Port Blair and stopovers for some international flights. This should boost tourism,” the lt Governor said.
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