PM Modi puts Lakshadweep on tourism map after his visit drives enquiries for the destination

Travel platform TravClan registered a 3x surge in search for hotels especially for Agatti Islands over the past week

Travel platforms and tour operators are seeing a spike in searches and enquiries for Lakshadweep after Prime Narendra Modi visited the beach destination.

Online travel aggregators (OTA) Ixigo and MakeMyTrip have recorded 2,900 percent and 3,400 percent respectively in on-platform searches for Lakshadweep.

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“Our government’s call to explore India’s gems has sparked a tremendous wave of interest and this remarkable spike resonates with the nation’s eagerness to explore the hidden treasures of India,” said Aloke Bajpai, Co-founder & Group CEO, Ixigo.

People are curious following Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Lakshadweep, said Sandeep Arora, Director, Brightsun Travel. “The captivating photos from his trip, showcasing the islands’ pristine beauty, have sparked widespread interest. This has led many to actively inquire about holiday opportunities there, flight options and where to stay. We are getting a lot of calls asking if Lakshadweep is a good option for a beach holiday and about the packages available including hotels and flight prices,” he said.

Another travel platform TravClan registered a 3x surge in search for hotels especially for Agatti Islands over the past week, said the platform’s Co-founder, Chirag Agrawal.

“I recall something similar was done for Kerala by our late PM A B Vajpayee when he once spent his vacations there and since then Kerala has grown in terms of tourism,” said Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators(IATO).

Travel logistics

The best time to visit Lakshadweep is between October to February, said P P Khanna, Board Member, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH). “Since this is the peak season, the most loved tourist places to explore in Lakshadweep are Andretti, Agatti and Minicoy,” he added.

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Travellers need to apply for the Protected Area Permit (PAP) online through the e-permit portal of the Lakshadweep Administration and it is valid for 30 days from the date of issue, pointed out travel influencer Tanya Khanijow in a post on X.

She further pointed out the air travel cost. “Flights from Delhi to Kochi costs Rs 12,000 for a round trip. Inter-island transfers via a ferry range from Rs 4,000-8,000 per person for two-way. Budget accommodation in Agatti Island costs Rs 1,500-2,500 per night and luxury stay will cost Rs 9,000 per night (all-inclusive). Activities like water sports including snorkeling starts at Rs 1,000, scuba diving at Rs 3,500, and fishing tours at Rs 1,000. Island tours cost around Rs 1,000-1,500 per person.”

To reach the island, one needs to land at Kochi airport and then take a bus or a ferry, noted Atul Thakkar, Director – Investment Banking, Anand Rathi Advisors Ltd who tracks the travel industry. “Lakshadweep airport at Agatti has limited flights. In the last 18 months, there are cruise ships starting from Mumbai to Lakshadweep which have seen significant traction among high end tourists.”

Travel costs to Lakshadweep start from Rs 22,999 for a three-night package including hotel and sightseeing, among others, and go as high as Rs 53,999 per head for a five-night package on EaseMyTrip. Notably, the company announced the launch of five new packages for the destination on January 8.

“Currently direct flights are primarily from Kochi and there are limited hotels at the moment. Over the last two years, we have seen people traveling to Lakshadweep primarily as part of their cruise itinerary. Travelers get down for a day trip and then come back on the cruise. We believe that as the tourism infrastructure grows, there will be more demand for multi-day leisure trips to the islands,” said TravClan’s Agrawal.

Over the last two years, there has been a notable increase in people choosing Lakshadweep as a travel destination, said Alok K Singh, Co-founder and CEO, Travomint.

“Lakshadweep, until recently, has been a destination accessible to only a select few due to the requirement of an entry permit. However, a noticeable shift has occurred in the past two years, as the islands have gained traction on social media platforms, particularly Instagram. Influencers, captivated by its azure waters and pristine white sand beaches, have flocked to Lakshadweep, creating a buzz and piquing the interest of a wider audience. To fully capitalise this, there is a crucial need for improved accessibility,” said Arora.

Need for more connectivity, hotels 

He added that to fully harness the potential of this archipelago, the government needs to prioritise and enhance the region’s infrastructure. “There is a crucial need for improved accessibility. If regular and affordable flights, coupled with a range of quality hotel options are made available then Lakshadweep has the potential to emerge as a preferred alternative to international destinations like the Maldives.”

There are no major resorts or hotels in Lakshadweep, noted Sanjay Dang, managing director of Le Travelworld.

India’s largest hospitality company, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL) in January last year announced the signing of two Taj-branded resorts on the islands of Suheli and Kadmat in Lakshadweep. The Greenfield projects are slated to open in 2026 and will be developed by IHCL.

Dipti Varma Narain, Founder of The Silver Surfers Travel Club, a travel community who recently experienced a cruise travel to Lakshadweep said, “I must admit that Agatti island is truly surreal with its powdery white shores, turquoise waters, and enchanting sunsets. The warmth of the friendly locals is unforgettable. However, the island faces significant shortcomings in terms of hotels, restaurants, and infrastructure.”

Amid the discussion around promoting Lakshadweep tourism, photographer and producer, Atul Kasbekar posted on X about his experience of travel to Maldives. “While the ocean and the diving are genuinely fantastic, the reality is that the local hotels were seriously not up to par, in fact very substandard. As far as tourist leisure facilities are concerned, there weren’t any. We should by all means promote our islands.
But it will need some serious work in terms of facilities, if they are to be a serious holiday consideration for travellers from India and other parts of the planet,” he said.

FAITH’s Khanna said that currently to visit an island, tourists need to have permission from authorities, which takes almost 25 days and this is a big hurdle. “There are possibilities of developing this archipelago into a world-class tourist destination and there will be a shift of domestic tourists to these places once all infrastructure is in place.”

Other infrastructure like restaurants, transport, and sea sports are also not developed, said Rajiv Mehra, President, Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). “For tourism to prosper, we need these vital things in place. However, since PM Modi has directly pitched for boosting tourism in Lakshadweep, I am sure the government will do all that is required to boost tourism,” he added.