Tourists can soon take sortie over Andaman & Nicobar

Tourists can soon take sortie over Andaman & Nicobar Port Blair: Tourists flocking to the Andaman and Nicobar islands can soon avail of a new facility by which they can take a sortie by an aircraft to witness the exotic locations and pristine natural beauty, with the Union territory all set to launch a "Sea Plane".

The first "Sea Plane" will soon be purchased and deployed on an experimental basis in two months time, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Government Chief Secretary Vivek Rae told newsmen while unveiling tourist development plans for the picturesque islands.

Two firms based in Dubai and Mumbai have been shortlisted for the supply of the plane, which would be hired on "wet lease" for six months, Rae said.

"The charges would be fixed depending upon the duration of the sortie. If the venture becomes successful, we will continue it and even expand it. Otherwise, it would have to be discontinued", Rae said, pointing to the involvement of subsidy outflow from government during initial stages of operation.

Seeking to market Andaman as an attractive tourist destination, the government has given thrust to promotion of Scuba Diving, for which it has abundant potential, he said adding "scuba diving is one of our USP in the new tourism policy to be announced on January four, 2010".

"During this December we are launching Rs 100 crore projects aimed at tourism promotion", he said.

"Andaman is a better diving destination. We will develop it as one of the high end tourist activity. We have lot of areas like Cinque Island, Fish Rock, Bala Reef, and Corruption Rock near South Andaman for scuba diving".

India's first marina to be developed in Andaman & Nicobar

India's first ever marina will be set up and 36 beach sites will be developed in the Andaman and Nicobar island to promote eco-friendly tourism in the Union Territory, its administration said today.

"Government will develop 36 beach sites in the island to promote eco-friendly tourism in the area," Andaman and Nicobar administration quoted lieutenant governor of the UT Bhopinder Singh as saying in an official release.

Singh said the action has already been initiated to develop Hut Bay, Neil Island and Laljibay under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

"It (the project) has been put up under fast track," he added.

The Lt Governor said that the UT administration has launched several "ambitious" tourism schemes to boost tourism infrastructure in the island.

"Plan is afoot to start more sound and light shows and setting up decompression chambers for scuba drivers in the island in the near future. The administration will also set up canopy walk ways, luxury cottage, luxury boats to attract high end tourist," he added.

He said ITDC has submitted a detailed project report to connect Port Blair-Neil-Havelock-Baratang Island, adding, "Work on this "prestigious" project will be started next year."

"Annual tourist arrival has increased to 1.30 lakh by September 2009 as compared to 33,716 tourist arrival recorded in 1990," he said.