The Tourism sector is one of the newly developed sector 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. There was no building nor any infrastructure available to carryout tourism activities in this Union Territory. In the year 1974 a full fledged all-weather ship. M.V. Amindivi , joined the fleet changed the very face of journey in the Islands. This was the first all weather ship and was a great relief that prior to Amindivi very small ships including M.V. Laccadives having capacity to carry 47 pax was not sufficient for the movement of passengers. The coming of Amindivi and two all weather ships M.V. Bharatseema and M.V. TipuSultan during 1988 created a favourable condition for the movement of tourists. Two small ships M.V. Minicoy & M.V. Amindivi joined the fleet recently has 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 has 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 tourists 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) 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, this SPORTS has been running restaurants for the tourists in every tourists focal Islands. The SPORTS operate a number of tourist packages to Lakshadweep. For more details on tourist packages please log on to http://www.lakshadweeptourism.com/