Lakshadweep tourism surges amid Maldives setback

| Updated: 12 January, 2024 1:04 pm IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The unprecedented support for domestic tourism, especially to Lakshadweep islands where travelers from Kerala have been opting after the uproar following the undignified comments by three cabinet ministers of the newly formed government in Maldives has become a boon for domestic tourist spots.

The New Indian spoke to a section of domestic tourists at the Kovalam and Varkala beaches where they reiterated the need to promote domestic tourism, especially on the need to explore the pristine beaches along the Arabian and the Bay of Bengal coastline. Many opined that the new ticket-booking rush will help the tourism industry and the local population in the areas and thus contribute towards the Indian economy.

“We have witnessed a 50 percent rise in the bookings towards Lakshadweep Islands in the past two days. This will help in the economy of the Islands which has been the demand of the local population for decades. It’s not just people from the south, but people from northern states who have been booking tickets for Lakshadweep”, said Johny Sebastian, a tour agent based in Fort Kochi.

In just two days that followed the resignation of three cabinet ministers in the Mohammed Muizzu-led government, there has been a rise in the bookings across all the travel agencies in the state looking to spend their holidays in Lakshadweep islands. Many feel that the insensitive and derogatory language used by the newly sworn cabinet ministers should not be tolerated and hence given an adequate response through ‘boycotting’ Maldives.

“It’s a good thing that happened in a way where our Prime Minister himself promoted tourism in the Island and later it got the mileage it deserved. We hope more investments and job opportunities will open up in the Islands”, said Abdul Sathar, a trader in Kavaratti Islands.

Meanwhile, a majority of the travelers who spoke to The New Indian say that more traveling options need to be started from Kerala so that the traveling options become smoother and simpler.

“We need more flight services to the Island as of now. Once a new airport is set up in the Islands, we are hoping that more flights will start services and hence there will be a reduction in flight charges towards the Islands from Cochin or elsewhere”, said Mohammed Kareem, a shopkeeper in Kavaratti Islands.

Online travel booking app MakeMyTrip on Monday said that there has been a 3,400 percent increase in on-platform searches for Lakshadweep ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to the union territory.

Meanwhile, MakeMyTrip officials added that due to high customer interest, it is launching the ‘Beaches of India’ campaign with offers and discounts so that travelers can explore the stunning beaches of the country.

EaseMyTrip suspended all bookings to Maldives after Maldivian ministers made insensitive remarks against India and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The online travel booking firm, founded jointly by Nishant Pitti, Rikant Pitti, and Prashant Pitti in 2008, instead started #ChaloLakshadweep, a campaign promoting tourism to Lakshadweep.

 

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