Tourists coming in to explore Lakshadweep's Agatti Island say that the Lagoon beach, one of the popular beaches on the island, is clean and pristine but say that the Island needs to improve on some of its facilities and popularise it so that it turns into a global tourism destination. However, one of the tourists said that for them the Agatti island is none less than Maldives.
One of the tourists who has come to visit the Lagoon beach as part of a cruise said that for them beach is none less than Maldives and they will not get enough time to explore the island in just a few hours.
"We are here for just 3-4 hours. I think time will get short for us to explore the beauty of this island. This is none less than Maldives for us. We are enjoying a lot," a tourist named Olivia who has come to Lagoon Beach from Kolkata said, speaking to ANI on Wednesday.
Another tourist said that though the beach is neatly maintained, there is a need for Lakshadweep to be made into a popular tourism destination so that it leads to employment opportunities for the island and its population.
"The beach is fine and neatly maintained. More propaganda is needed for Lakshadweep. Andaman is more popular, but Lakshadweep is not. When we were talking to drivers they were telling us that leaving behind tourism there is nothing else. If tourism is improved their livelihood will also improve," he said speaking to ANI.
Another tourist said that though the beach is environmentally friendly, the authorities need to work on advertising so that more people can visit. She also added that there may be some recreational facilities on the island so that it can attract people.
"It is a nice place to visit. There is no pollution and it is very environmentally friendly. But more information should be passed on so that others can also come and visit the place. More facilities should be there like some huts and recreational centres so that people can come here, explore and tell other people," she said, speaking to ANI.
Another tourist who is from Maharashtra appealed to others to come and visit Agatti Island and suggested to come in groups.
"This beach is beautiful and clean...We have come on a cruise. We appeal to everyone to come here more often, in groups if convenient." he said speaking to ANI.
Locals at Agatti Island expect more development on the island. They said they are not against the development of tourism, but the administration needs to take their demands and problems into consideration.
The locals complained about the lack of hospital facilities and said that they have to take patients to Kochi for treatment. The island has primary health centres but locals want multi-speciality hospitals on the island. They demanded development of road infrastructure and other facilities as well.
Interest in Lakshadweep peaked when Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 2 visited the Union Territory of Lakshadweep and shared several pictures, including an 'exhilarating experience' of him trying his hand at snorkelling.
Soon, in a post that has now been deleted, the Maldivian Deputy Minister of Youth Empowerment, Mariyam Shiuna, made a mocking and disrespectful reference to PM Modi.
Indians, including cricketers and film celebrities, have since come out in open support in promoting local beach destinations and other tourist spots. They also voiced support for PM Modi's call for promoting beach tourism in Lakshadweep.
The Maldives government has, however, distanced itself from the remarks made by its ministers. Maldivian Minister of Foreign Affairs Moosa Zameer said that these remarks against foreign leaders are "unacceptable" and do not reflect the official position of the Maldives government.