The Tourism sector is one of the newly developed sectors in Lakshadweep. From 1956 to 1962 there was no ship nor any mechanized vessels operating between the Islands and mainland to carry even the local passengers. It was in the year 1962 that a small ship 'M.V. Sea fox' having a capacity to carry just 12 pax was introduced. At that time, there was no building nor any infrastructure available to carry out tourism activities in this Union Territory. In 1974, a full fledged all-weather ship, M.V. Amindivi, joined the fleet & changed the very face of journey to the Islands. This was the first all weather ship and was a great relief. Prior to Amindivi only very small ships (including M.V. Laccadives having capacity to carry 47 pax) were available, which was not sufficient for the movement of passengers. The coming of Amindivi and two all weather ships M.V. Bharatseema and M.V. Tipu Sultan (1988) created a favorable condition for the movement of tourists. Two small ships M.V. Minicoy & M.V. Amindivi that joined the fleet recently have helped the movement of tourists further.
Tourism is one of the few areas in Lakshadweep which can play a vital role in generating income, employment and over all development of islands. Recognizing vast tourism potential, a humble beginning was made in 1974 and one of the uninhabited Island Bangaram was opened for International Tourism. The Hotel Corporation of India was looking after the affairs of Bangaram island resort up to 1982. The tourists on those days were coming by ship Amindivi. During 1978-tourists came by chartered ship 'M.S. Europa'. But in the absence of a permanent set up, the flow of tourists were not encouraging. After the Hotel Corporation of India wound up their business, the SPORTS was directly dealing with the tourist activities (both Indian and foreign). The Casino Group of hotels, Cochin entered the field of Lakshadweep Tourism through a lease deed dated 22nd October 1988 with SPORTS for operating the Bangaram Island Resort. Encouraged by the Bangaram experiment, the Lakshadweep administration has gone ahead with Tourism promotion in the Islands of Kavaratti, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Minicoy were opened for domestic tourists in 1983.
The policy of the Administration for the promotion of Tourism in the islands is designed on the basis of the recommendation of Island Development Authority. Since the carrying capacity of these tiny islands has to be kept in mind, any activities related with Tourism have to be carried out with utmost care. This has stressed the necessity of preventing environmental imbalance arising out Tourism and has recommended sea based Tourism so as to ensure that land resources are not over taxed. Therefore the domestic tourists are brought by ship and the night halt of tourists are arranged in such way that they are boarded from the islands before night taking in to account carrying capacity of the islands and shortage of essential items including drinking water. The experiment of day tourism has been found quite successful. International tourists to Bangaram are brought by flight from Kochi to Agatti, the nearest Island to Bangaram which is having an Airport.
The Bangaram Island Resort, Bangaram, the Lakshadweep Institute of Water Sports, Kadmat and the Twenty Bedded Tourist home, Agatti are presently operated by private entrepreneurs on lease. The Twenty Bedded Tourist Home at Minicoy has started functioning. The Twelve Bedded Tourist Home at Kadmat is presently run by SPORTS on lease. The tourist huts in the tourist focal Islands of Kavaratti, Kadmat, Kalpeni and Minicoy are looked after by SPORTS. Apart from these huts three private cottages at Minicoy are operated by local enterpreneurs.
Taking into account all the aspects involved the Administrative set up of the department of Tourism has been reorganized and strengthened. The department, till 1989, was functioning with a skeleton staff of one U.D. Clerk and an Ex-officio Director. In 1990, the Department was strengthened with the posting of Tourism Officers and other necessary ministerial staff.
SPORTS (Society for promotion of Nature, Tourism and Sports) - SPORTS has been recognized as a nodal agency for the promotion of tourism in Lakshadweep. It has got its staff trained in various disciplines of water sports. In the absence of any restaurants in Lakshadweep, SPORTS has been running restaurants for the tourists in all the focal Islands. The SPORTS operate a number of tourist packages to Lakshadweep
11°- 29* North Lattitude 73°- 04* East longitude, located 394 kms, from Cochin.
Land Area: 2.20 sq.Kms.
Climate: The climate of the island is moderate
A Glance: KILTAN lies 51 kms. north-east of AMINI on the international trade route between the persian Gulf and Sri Lanka.The island is only on 3 kms. On the northern and southern ends of the island there is a high storm beach. The island is thick in flora and is fertile. The summer nights in KILTAN are warmer and it is usual for the people to sleep outside their homes, on the beaches. KILTAN has a rich tradition of folk dances.
Lakshadweep islands lie about 220 to 440 kms off the Kerala coast between 8° and 12° North Latitudes and 71° and 74° East Longitudes. The islands are connected to mainland by passenger ships and flights operated from Kochi. The airport is in Agatti and facilities exist for helicopter transfer to Kavaratti Island. The remoteness and pristine beauty of these islands combined with the solitude and peace provided by the verdant environment offer an ideal getaway for holidaymakers.
How to Reach Lakshadweep
Lakshadweep Island can be reached by ships and flights operated from Kochi. For all tourist purposes Kochi is the gate way to Lakshadweep.
Agatti and Bangaram islands can be reached by flight from Kochi. Indian Airlines and Kingfisher airlines operate flights from Kochi. Onward flights from Kochi are available to most of the airports in India and abroad. Airstrip is there in Agatti island only. From Agatti boats are available to Kavaratti and Kadmat during fair season October to May. Helicopter transfer is available from Agatti to Bangaram Island Resort during monsoon and to Kavaratti throughout the year. The flight from Cochin to Agatti takes approximately one hour and thirty minutes.
Four passenger ships - MV Tipu Sultan, MV Bharat Seema, MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy operate between Cochin and Lakshadweep. The passage takes 14 to 18 hours depending on island chosen for journey. The ships offer different classes of accommodation: A/C Deluxe Class with two berth cabins, A/C First Class with four berth cabins and Tourist Class with A/C seating. MV Tipu Sultan has a cafeteria, snack bar, entertainment lounge and upper deck promenade for the tourists. A doctor is available on call on board MV Tipu Sultan & MV Bharath Seema. MV Amindivi and MV Minicoy also offer comfortable A/C seating ideal for a night’s journey.