Imagine waking up in the morning in the middle of the sea in a luxurious villa. What places do you think of? Maldives, Mauritius, Bali?
Well, India might soon join the list of places on your bucket list for ‘lagoon villas’ if the government’s plan for ‘holistic development of the islands’ comes true.
Speaking to The Hindu, Jitendra Kumar, Advisor, NITI Aayog, said, “If you see Lakshadweep, we have so much lagoon area. Other countries have built villas and attract tourists from across the globe. But we don’t have any such project.”
Kumar further said that the NITI Aayog, with other stakeholders like the Island Development Agency (IDA), headed by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, is now considering the technical feasibility of the project.
These lagoon villas may come up at both Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar islands. The government will ensure that there is no damage to the marine ecosystem, Kumar added.
Another idea is to identify an island where a film city can be built.
“It is a new idea that we are working on. This will not only attract tourists but also relieve some of the pressure on Mumbai as a filming hub,” Kumar told The Hindu.
Tenders will be issued by the government for four tourism-based hospitality projects. Three of these will be in the Andaman & Nicobar islands and one in Lakshadweep.
“These will mainly be eco-cottages for which private players can bid to build. The projects will add about 700 rooms. Ecological concerns and tribal-related issues will be fully addressed,” he said.
In the light of the inflow of foreign tourists at Andaman & Nicobar consistently limited at around 15,000, the lagoon villas could be a good boost to tourism. The domestic tourists, on the other hand, rose from over 2.02 lakh in 2011 to over 3.84 lakh in 2016.
“This is in spite of the fact that globally, there is a high demand for eco-tourism, adventure tourism (sea sports, game fishing) and cruise tourism,” said Kumar.
The government is now planning to make the Diglipur Airport in the Andamans operational for civilian aircraft by December 2018.
The idea is to boost inter-island connectivity to the islands by connecting Diglipur, Port Blair, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay through smaller aircraft and increase helicopter services, utilising its existing 17 available helipads.
The government is also making efforts to start international flights from the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)