Government invites tender to develop facilities for tourists on 4 islands in Andaman

NEW DELHI: Four resorts, tree houses and tourist shops with 460 rooms will be installed on the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, known for their world-class beaches with crystal clear waters and shallow reefs, officials said on Sunday.

With the aim of making an important tourist attraction like the Maldives and Mauricio , the offers are invited by private actors to develop facilities for tourists under design, construction, financing, operation and transfer based on the Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Under the plans, an ecotourism complex with 220 rooms will be established in Lalaji Bay, Big Island . Ecotourism tents and tree houses with 70 rooms on Smith Island will be installed, similar tents with 50 rooms on Bird Island will be installed and an ecotourism complex with 120 rooms will be installed in Shaheed Dweep (Neil Island).

These four PPP projects are part of the ambitious plans of the central government for the comprehensive development of Andaman, said an official from the Ministry of Interior.

Plans include the installation of tents and houses in premium trees, interpretation center, turtle observation center, island diving facilities, beach huts and sunrise points, premium island resorts, boardwalk , nature trail and camping facilities as well as other infrastructure.

All planned projects are expected to generate an investment of more than Rs 650 million and have a built-in condition of 60 percent of local employment, the official said.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are famous throughout the world for their pristine natural beauty, rich marine life, flora and fauna spread over 836 islands, islets and rocks. The islands have picturesque views with a rich culture and heritage.

The pristine water with world-class beaches and shallow reefs are a major attraction for tourists. Our aim is to make the Andamans an attractive world-class tourist destination similar to the Maldives and Mauritius, the official said.

Paving the way for the 'Tourism Facility', 30 islands have already been exempted from the Restricted Area Permit (RAP) regime and the mandatory registration requirement of foreigners arriving in the archipelago within 24 hours of entry.

A great boost has been given to the water sports industry and regulations and guidelines have been simplified, with due regard to the safety aspect of users and respecting the interest of the operator.

The islands have witnessed an increase in the number of licensed dive centers, while adventure products such as boardwalk and paragliding have recently been introduced.

The bed and breakfast plan has registered 40 stays at home, 121 tour operators have been registered since 2014 and a state-of-the-art light and sound show installation has been installed in Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Island ().

Floating docks have been installed on several tourist islands and orchids, gardens are being developed to attract nature lovers.

During 2014-18, tourist arrivals increased from 3.11 lakh to 5.13 lakh, a 65 percent growth. Hotel accommodation has doubled and is now 7,000, while more than 100 small-size fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) tourist boats and 1,000 tourist taxis were added during the period.

A total area of ​​94 percent in Andaman comprises rich forests and mangroves that house endemic birds, wildlife and rainforest.

Tourism has become the main driver of economic growth in the islands after careful deliberation about its social fabric, environmental sensitivity and development potential, said another official.

According to data available with the Ministry of Interior, more than 16 lakh tourists have visited the Andaman and Nicobar Islands between 2015 and 2018.

The archipelago has received around 5.13 lakh tourists, including more than 20,000 foreigners in 2018, while 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners, visited it in 2017.

In 2016, up to 4,00,019 tourists, including 15,467 foreigners, visited the islands and in the previous year, 3,11,358 tourists, including 14,674 foreigners, visited it.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are under the administrative control of the Ministry of Interior.

The archipelago has been inhabited for several thousand years, at least with archaeological evidence dating back to about 2,200 years.

However, the indications of genetic, cultural and linguistic isolation studies suggest that housing goes back between 30,000 and 60,000 years, up to the middle paleolithic, according to the Department of Tourism of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.