Treading trending Lakshadweep

Lakshadweep has gained spotlight as a key domestic travel destination following Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the archipelago. Experts feel the destination needs better infrastructural facilities to cash in on its potential.

Janice Alyosius & Hazel Jain

The mesmerizing island group of Lakshadweep in the Arabian Sea has recently found itself in the limelight owing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push for domestic tourism and the combined efforts of various industry stakeholders. The spotlight on this hidden gem has unveiled a burgeoning interest among travellers and spurred a flurry of discussions centered on its untapped potential and the necessary enhancements required to transform it into a premier tourist destination.

Pradeep Shetty, President, Hotel and Restaurant Association (Western India) – HRAWI & Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), highlighted the need for infrastructural upgrades at the destination. “At present, Lakshadweep operates only one or two flights weekly with limited seat capacity using ATRs. There is an urgent need to augment flight frequency and upgrade airport facilities, including larger runways. Simultaneously, augmenting room inventory is crucial. We strongly advocate for a comprehensive tourism development plan for Lakshadweep encompassing increased flight frequencies, improved airport infrastructure and expanded accommodations. FHRAI emphasizes these upgrades as vital to elevate Lakshadweep’s appeal, attracting global tourists while supporting sustainable tourism and local communities. Collaboration with authorities remains pivotal for realizing this vision and nurturing Lakshadweep into a premier destination aligning with the industry’s commitment to a thriving Indian tourism landscape,” he said.

MP Bezbaruah, Secretary General, Hotel Association of India, emphasized on the need for sensitive and sustainable tourism planning. Highlighting the fragile ecosystem of Lakshadweep, he said, “Recent attention to the development of tourism in Lakshadweep is welcome. Lakshadweep is a god’s gift of pristine beauty, and this unique asset can make tourism an important input for the inclusive growth of the islands.” Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, M!CE, Visa, Thomas Cook (India), highlighted a substantial spike in search data, “We have witnessed an uptick in our searches for both domestic islands and beach destinations. Our search data for Lakshadweep indicates a significant jump of over 950 per cent compared to December,” he said. Daniel D’Souza, President & Country Head – Holidays, SOTC Travel, echoed similar sentiments, pointing out the surge in interest for Lakshadweep cruise sailings. “The Hon. PM’s initiative to inspire Indians to explore our country’s less explored/ hidden gem Lakshadweep and its pristine islands have successfully garnered significant attention and interest from the country. The island destination has become the most searched destination across the world today,” he said. Jurgen Bailom, President and CEO, Waterways Leisure Tourism, Cordelia Cruises, said, “We are thrilled about the growing interest in Lakshadweep; we are committed to being an integral part of its growth story,” he shared. Jay Kantawala, Chairman, TAFI Western India Chapter & Founding Partner, WIYO Travel, acknowledged the existing challenges regarding Lakshadweep’s infrastructure. “We had approximately 9,500 tourists to Lakshadweep during last year. I feel that the current infrastructure is not ready to handle a drastic surge of tourists.”

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