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India to add water sports to picturesque islands

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Tourist-friendly infrastructure to offer scuba diving and sports

India says it will throw open a total of seven islands for tourism development in the next few years to boost its beach tourism offerings.

“We have identified […] islands for development,” AK Singh, lieutenant governor of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, said. “A large number of tourist attractions exist across the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, but we are planning to do more to attract tourists.”

Tourist-friendly infrastructure offering guests scuba diving and water sports should be completed by 2016. Beach resorts and sports facilities will also be built on three uninhabited Lakshadweep islands located in the Arabian Sea.

Night landing facilities will be developed at Andaman and Nicobar’s Port Blair airport by the third quarter of 2014 to allow international flights to stop over. Almost 100 flights pass the airport every day, but none land there, Singh said.

The archipelago comprises 556 islands of which 37 are inhabited. In 2013, 250,000 tourists visited the area, including 17,000 visitors to the Lakshadweep Islands.

“Thinnakkara, Suheli Par and Cherium are the three islands in Lakshadweep where we are planning to build tourism infrastructure at a cost of Rs6 billion (€74.4 million),” said AM Hussain, assistant director of Lakshadweep Tourism.

Other islands in the cluster offer activities such as scuba diving, snorkelling and windsurfing, making use of the silver-sand beaches and abundant marine life. The islands are connected by sea and air from Kochi and Calicut. Lakshadweep Tourism will buy two new ships to cater for the increasing tourist traffic.

TTG Asia

[pictured: Coral reef, Andaman Islands; photo by Ritiks]

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