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Lakshadweep is one of the worlds most spectacular tropical island systems. Thirty- two sq. km of land spread over 36 islands surrounded by 4200 sq. km of lagoon rich in marine wealth. The precious heritage of ecology and culture is supported by an extremely fragile ecosystem. Committed to the cause of Eco tourism Union Territory of Lakshadweep has consciously followed a middle path between tourism promotion and environmental conservation. The Administration is carefully monitoring the environmental impact of coastal tourism and has taken steps to promote tourism in a way that is consistent with ecological concerns. As an effective strategy to avoid pressure on ecological environment, the efforts to promote tourism have been synchronized with the carrying capacity of the islands.

Though all the islands are endowed with the beauty of coral reef, sandy beaches, unpolluted and clear water and hospitable settings, most of these differ in terms of facilities and services offered. Some islands have been promoted for diving and water sports; still others have been developed so that people enjoy the charm of relaxation and natural enjoyment. Since the land is precious and scarce it is avowed policy of the Administration to relieve pressure on land and promote water based tourism. The motto being admires and not exploits that natural beauty.

The dispersed Island situations and small size of Islands put unavoidable constraints to physical development. Islands are forced to support independent infrastructure and amenities and import almost all requirements to develop such facilities besides items of daily need. However, Lakshadweep has used the situation as an asset rather than a constraint through promotion of quality tourism.To enhance tourism that has significant positive social impact and negative environment impact, and extreme low volume and high value added specialized tourism in the basic thrust to make tourism development environmentally sustainable. The policy thrust is very much evident from the fact that only 3587 tourists visited the islands during the finical year 1998-99.

In pursuance of the above policy, an environment impact assessment of 9th five-year Plan of Lakshadweep Administration for the period 1997-2002 was conducted. While environmental impact assessment of project is now a well-established practice, environmental impact assessment of policies or plans is a relatively new concept. It was for the first time in the country that Five Year Plan was subjected to environmental impact assessment. In the environmental analysis of the Department of tourism, it has been observed that preservation of environment is the cherished goal of Lakshadweep. In fact environment is the basic raw material for tourism for these islands.

The policies and guidelines prepared by the Union Territory of Lakshadweep to promote sustainable tourism can be categorized into four groups.
1 Impacts on physical environment
2 Impacts on ecological environment
3 Impacts on human use values, and
4 Impacts on quality of life values.

In order not to adversely affect the physical environment emphasis of the administration is to promote tourism only in those islands that can sustain it keeping in view the concept of carrying capacity. The facilities are developed in such a way that they do not result in loss of bio-diversity. No development is permitted in geologically unstable zone. Adequate buffer zone has been provided between development and existing shoreline. The construction of high-rise structures is banned. The policy is to allow structures that are in harmony with nature. It is ensured that construction materials and methods are compatible with environment and height, shape and location of building merge with the natural vegetation.

All tourism development schemes are first analyzed from environmental impact point of view and only if they meet the norms in this regard implementation is taken up. Following are broad EIA (Environment Impact Assessment) norms.
1 All proposed construction should have thatched roof or tiled sloping roof.
2 Only bio toilets to be installed as far as possible.
3 Rain water harvesting to be set up to conserve fresh water.
4 Use of Pump Sets should be minimized; the pump set in any case should have a cut off mechanism to ensure that water below the minimum safe level is not drawn.
5 Waste disposal system like incinerators for non-recyclable/non bio degradable waste should be installed and system of returning all non-biodegradable waste must be in position.
6 Minimum cutting of tress/ greenery and maximum plantation of trees, plants, shrubs and creepers.
7 Carrying capacity study of the island before taking up development in any uninhabited island
8 A regular system to educate tourists about environment fragility of eco system.

The objectives and policies with regard to tourism promotion are looked after by the Tourism Department and a Society named Society for Promotion of Nature Tourism and Sports (SPORTS), which is the Tourism promotion agency of Lakshadweep Administration.

Following actions of the Administration reflect our commitment to ecology and sustainable tourism
1 Lakshadweep Tourism Department’s efforts to promote eco-friendly tourism were appreciated at international tourism Bourse held in Berlin, Germany.
2 Most of our tourist accommodation have thatched huts and tiled roof
3 All the tourism properties have largely PVC solar streetlights. Tourists are encouraged to live in harmony with nature.
4 Use of compact fluorescent lamps.
5 Electric power supplied by solar plants during the day.
6 The islanders are educated to adopt Eco friendly way like burning of coconut husks to tackle mosquito and pests instead of pesticide and protect the environment and ecology.
7 Bio-mass gasifies is proposed to be set up at Kavaratti on an experimental basis to utilize coconut waste and eventually generate electricity at a cheaper rate and also save the environment from pollution.
8 A film is shown to the tourist once they board the ship on way to Lakshadweep islands informing them about the island, its environment, the coral reefs and its management, the ban on picking up of corals, plastics etc. and ways to keep the islands clean and enjoy the beauty without disturbing or destroying it.
9 Being a restricted area entry is allowed only after issue of permits and therefore the over crowding in the islands is easily taken care of.
10 The boats, vessels and ships of Lakshadweep Administration especially of Lakshadweep tourism carry the names of Island territories having great ecological value. Some of the names are MV Thinnakara MT Suheli. Thinnakara and Suheli are uninhabited islands in Lakshadweep archipelago and are known for their outstanding beauty and bio-diversity. Naming the vessels as above carries the message of ecology for all the tourists as well as islanders.
11 Fishing in Lakshadweep is carried out by poll and line method only. It is acknowledged all over the world that Pole and line method is most Eco friendly method of fishing of tuna in which only mother fishes are caught and young ones as also mother marine creatures are spared, which are unnecessarily destroyed in other fishing methods.
12 Islanders are being trained in Scuba diving so that they not only know about marine wealth but also contribute in maintaining the ecology of the islands and works as eyes and ears of the Administration.
13 Administration has initiated steps to document the bio-diversity of the Island with the help of M.S. Swaminathan foundation and local staff.
14 Lakshadweep Building Development Board has been constituted to import and provide construction materials so that local does not collect it from the Island damage the ecology.

of high value-low volume tourism focused on preservation of local environment, ecology and culture. The Lakshadweep administration has taken a holistic view of tourism development. The idea is to promote tourism as a composite package, developing all facilities and infrastructure required to promote Eco-friendly tourism; not only provide accommodation but arrange transportation from and /to main land by ship/ air, catering facilities, recreational facilities, water sports, scuba diving, boating, wind surfing etc. Privatization of tourists infrastructure in a big way, promote private investment on very cautious terms and should be given to those who are the best in the field and share our concern for ecology and quality not quantity tourism The facilities in two islands ie. Bangaram and Agatti are being managed by private agencies. Private divers also run the scuba diving school at Kadmat. It is proposed to give facilities located in other island, Minicoy and Kadmat to private entrepreneurs and encourage the local islanders to man the scuba diving Schools. The thrust is on promoting ship based tourism for Indian nationals at affordable rates and our efforts in the regard have met with great success. The operation of passenger ships requires rigorous monitoring of facilities on board, embarkation at Kochi and disembarkation at the islands. The facilities onboard require regular upkeep especially toilets, cabins, lounges that add great deal of pressure. Since Cochin Port has not allotted any special gangway for our ships, embarkation is a problem; disembarkation also has to be organised on the high sea, as the ship cannot enter the lagoon. The passengers are transferred on small boats and brought to the island jetty, which is a cumbersome exercise requiring great deal of monitoring and supervision. The administration is dependant on expert agencies like, SCI, CSL etc for maintenance of passenger ships and on many occasions these agencies, may be due to constraints beyond their control, are not able to adhere to a deadline. These problems unsettle the entire schedule of tour packages besides causing inconvenience to the passengers.

The efforts and policy of the Tourism Department of Lakshadweep was appreciated at National level and the Hon’ble President of India at a function gave the maiden National Eco Tourism Award for 1996-97 to Lakshadweep on 25th January 1998.

1 Preserve fragile ecological and environmental structure.
2 Preserve local culture and social fabric.
3 High value and low volume, tourism
4 Sustainable tourism based on the “carrying capacity” of the islands.
5 Sea based SHIP tourism for larger numbers.
6 Air based AIRLINE/HELICOPTER tourism for high value tourists only.
7 Local features:
1 No violation of prohibition
2 Promotion of folk art and culture
3 Eco friendly water sports, mainly non-mechanized.
4 Promotion of Scuba diving.
5 Promotion of Solar Power and Biological toilets.
6 Collection of non-biodegradable waste
7 Disposal of kitchen waste in open sea
8 Promotion of smokeless “Chula” in kitchen
9 Discouragement to diesel generation
10 Installment of Silent Generators to avoid noise pollution.
8 Training of staff
1 To upgrade tourism management skill
2 Capacity building with local resources personals to run the Scuba-diving centers.
9 Privatization of facilities on stringent terms: Land lease rent, royalty and percentage of gross turnover.

Bangaram - 60 Beds Traditional Huts
Kadmat - 22 Beds Executive Huts
- 26 Beds Family Huts
Minicoy - 20 Beds New Resort
- 06 Beds Private Huts
Kavaratti - 10 Beds Paradise Huts
Agatti - 20 Beds Island Resorts
Kalpeni - 08 Beds Private Huts