Andaman and Nicobar administration has opened tourist activities in the South Andaman, while North and Middle Islands are still closed for tourists.
So far, Andaman has 186 active coronavirus cases, while authorities have decided to open ecotourism sites, museums, Cellular Jail (including Light & Sound Shows), Havelock Island (Swaraj Dweep), Neil Islands, and water sports are also fully functional.
“Yes, we have opened the tourist activities in South Andaman and recently we have formally announced it. We have also re-deployed our tourist police in all the important spots to assist the people who will come for vacation. We also hosted a small ceremony in front of Cellular Jail to review our preparedness to handle tourists,” Director General of Police, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dependra Pathak told News18.
“The number of cases here is less as compared to other parts of India. I am sure re-opening of tourist activities would certainly help lakhs of people associated with the industry,” he added. Following Covid-19 protocol, the local administration has also made all necessary arrangements for coronavirus testing for passengers visiting the Islands, while the tourism industry has been asked to adhere to all the precautionary measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Tourism activities were stopped in the Archipelago on March 16, following a Covid-19 triggered nationwide lockdown. President of the Andaman Association of Tour Operators, M Vinod welcomed the decision and was hopeful to see good tourist inflow in the coming few weeks. “In 2019, we saw more than 4 lakhs tourists in Andaman and this year we expect a little less due to lockdowns in the past. But from April, 2021 onwards we are expecting good numbers of tourists as most of them are opting Andaman because it is comparatively safe from COVID as compared to other places.”
“As precautionary measures, all the staff were asked to sanitize their vessels/vehicles before and after every trip. I would like to assure the tourists that they can happily come here as we are here to take care of them as our guests,” he added.
For the last few months the Governor D K Joshi, Chief Secretary Chetan Sanghi, and the Director-General of Police, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dependra Pathak have taken several measures and held multiple meetings to handle the pandemic effectively.
As per the Union Home Ministry’s statistic - from 2015 to 2018, nearly 16 Lakhs tourists visited Andamans. In 2017, it received 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners. In 2018, nearly 5.13 lakh tourists, including over 20,000 foreigners visited the Islands.