Lakshadweep’s Tourism Conundrum: Alliance Air’s Lone Flight Highlights Infrastructure Challenges

January 15, 2024

Lakshadweep, India: The inflow of tourists to Lakshadweep is required to adhere to the guidelines set by the “integrated Island management plan” established by the Justice Ravindran Commission. This comprehensive plan, widely accepted and consulted before infrastructure projects, delineates the islands’ carrying capacity and the permissible number of tourists.

PM of India, Narendra Modi in Lakshadweep Islands
PM of India, Narendra Modi in Lakshadweep Islands. Google images

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Lakshadweep is currently emphasizing “high-end controlled tourism” to maximize revenue while ensuring strict environmental controls, as highlighted by industry executives. Despite increased attention on social media, potential visitors may be discouraged due to the lack of direct connectivity, limited hotel accommodations, and insufficient tourist facilities.

At present, Alliance Air stands as the sole operator with a daily flight to Agatti, capable of accommodating only small aircraft. VP Narula, owner of Apex Travel and Tours, emphasizes the importance of direct air connectivity, citing its cost-saving benefits and convenience for travelers.

Jyoti Mayal, president of the Travel Agents Association of India, points out the challenges posed by limited access, mandatory permits for airport landings, and insufficient promotion, contributing to the restriction of Lakshadweep’s tourism potential.

Data from the Airports Authority of India reveals a decline in the number of flights at Agatti Island airport during the April-November 2023 period, reaching the lowest level in eight years. The archipelago’s lowest number of flights during this period, coupled with limited direct connectivity, has impacted its appeal to potential visitors.

Recent controversies surrounding remarks by junior ministers of the Maldives have sparked interest in Lakshadweep, with Indian celebrities announcing plans for a vacation. However, industry executives emphasize that a lack of direct connectivity, insufficient hotels, and tourist conveniences remain deterrents for potential visitors.

Plans for developing a new airport at Minicoy Island are underway, aiming to promote tourism and enhance surveillance capabilities for defense forces. Jay Bhatia, vice-president of the association, highlights the current lack of infrastructure in Lakshadweep to handle tourists, not just in terms of flights but also hotels.

Despite potential interest, an unnamed airline official suggests that limited traffic poses a challenge for airlines to operate in the region.

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