Admiral Joshi announced that two more Greenfield airports are in the pipeline, including one in Port Blair, apart from the existing Veer Savarkar International Airport and another in Great Nicobar.
Lt. Governor Admiral DK Joshi of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands says that 2024 will be a turning year for this stunning archipelago, particularly for the travel and hotel industry.
Inaugurating the Island Tourism Festival (ITF), Admiral Joshi says, ”I believe tourism and hospitality will give unprecedented impetus to the islands.” Admiral Joshi, who is also the vice chairman of the Islands Development Agency (IDA), continued, ”To promote tourism and the hospitality sector, it is important to improve infrastructure. In the last couple of years, we have focused attention on improving the infrastructure to woo investors. Recently, we held an investor conference in Delhi and got a very good response.” Highlighting the recent infrastructure development in the islands.
For better inter-island connectivity to promote tourism, the Lt. Governor said the selection of operators for three sea ports at Long Island, Shaheed Dweep, and Swaraj Dweep and the UDAN scheme at Diglipur, Car Nicobar, Campbell Bay, and Great Nicobar have been finalised. ”Infrastructure improvement is going on, and these flight services will be operational soon,” he proposed.
”Except for two years in the past, including one during COVID, our annual tourist arrivals are very impressive. By December 31, we are expecting that the tourist footfall will cross the 5 lakh mark,” he says. ”In the last 5–6 years, the central government has approved ₹ 95,000 crore in funds for infrastructure development on this island, and therefore 2024 will be a transformational year,” the Lt. Governor added.
”Some of the projects have already been completed, like the Humphrey Strait Creek Bridge, the New Airport Terminal Building, the undersea cable, etc., while the rest, which is the Great Nicobar project, the Middle Strait Bridge and some others, will be operational soon. There was some delay in the doubling of the national highway but work is going on to expedite the project and soon travelling time from North to South Andaman will be reduced to 4-5 hours from the existing 10–12 hours,” he informed.
Admiral Joshi praised the entire administrative team for staging the ITF and said that should the need arise, there will be other festivals like this in the future, featuring artists from the mainland in addition to local musicians, to promote the tourism and hospitality industries.
The five-day event, which takes place at 15 locations throughout the islands from December 27 to December 31, is being organised by the Departments of Information, Publicity, and Tourism in collaboration with the Departments of Arts and Culture.
This year’s main event will be the December 29 performance by Padma Shri Madhavi Mudgal, an Indian classical dancer, and renowned percussionist Thetakudi Harihara Vinayakram, also known as Vikku Vinayakram.