Administrator of the island State has written to Deputy Commissioner to this effect

Lakshadweep administration has shown interest for launching direct tourist cruise service between Mangalore and Lakshadweep islands, according to Deputy Commissioner V. Ponnuraj.

In his introductory remarks at a function to mark the World Tourism Day at the Town Hall here on Monday, he said that the administrator of Lakshadweep islands had written to him to this effect.

According to the website of Tourism Department of the islands, tourists have to obtain permission at Kochi to visit there. People should be part of package tours and they cannot stay there beyond the permitted period in view of carrying capacity of the islands and shortage of essential items, including drinking water.

Mr. Ponnuraj, who is chairman of the District Tourism Development Committee, said that tourists from Goa and other northern parts of Mangalore need not go up to Kochi, if direct vessel connectivity was made available from Mangalore.

Later, in an informal chat with presspersons, the Deputy Commissioner said that a meeting will have to be held with the authorities of Lakshadweep before finalising the proposal of direct travel from here. A meeting will be held here soon, he said.

Earlier, at the function, Mr. Ponnuraj said that the potential of Dakshina Kannada to promote tourism remained untapped for various reasons. Home stays, which have gained popularity in Kodagu, can be promoted in the coastal belt to promote beach tourism.

Mr. Ponnuraj said that a tourism council is yet to be formed in the district to promote tourism. According to the discussions held here sometime ago under the auspices of Mangalore Association of Travel Agents, the council should have committees to promote different sectors like eco tourism, beach tourism, medical and education tourism.

N. Yogish Bhat, MLA, said that the Government has identified 150 acres of land to set up a marine aquarium park here. The project was estimated to cost Rs. 250 crores. The Government plans to construct a ropeway across the Phalguni (also called Gurupura river) between Sulthan Bathery and Tannirbavi.

He said that a divine corridor could be promoted in the coastal belt.

B. Nagaraja Shetty, chairman, Coastal Development Authority, spoke.

There was thin attendance at the function.

The function had been jointly organised by the Department of Tourism and other organisations.

Earlier, office-bearers of MATA and other officials welcomed tourists who arrived from Bangalore at the Mangalore Airport by presenting them roses and sweets.

Minister for Higher Education V.S. Acharya, who was at the airport to board a flight, was also made to present roses to passengers.

Rs. 10 crore set aside

Udupi Staff Correspondent reports:

T.M. Prabhakar, Additional Deputy Commissioner, said on Monday that the Department of Tourism has set aside Rs. 10 crore for a special package to develop tourist destinations in Udupi district.

He was speaking at the World Tourism Day celebrations, organised by the district administration, Department of Tourism, Kudremukh Wildlife Division and MGM College, here.

Mr. Prabhakhar said that there was a lot of potential to develop tourist spots in Udupi district.

The drawback was that this potential had not been tapped properly, he said.

N.A. Madhyastha, Member of the Karnataka State Wildlife Board, said that planet earth belonged not only to human beings but also various animals, birds and plants. Reckless exploitation of nature would have dangerous consequences on the planet. Western countries give equal importance to tourism and environment, which had also helped in their economic growth. India should emulate those countries, he said.

The Western Ghats were known for their rich biodiversity.

The Malyady, a sleepy hamlet about 22 km from Udupi attracted migratory birds. Turtles were known to lay eggs near the Marvanthe beach in Udupi district. Protection of biodiversity was very essential, Dr. Madhyastha said.

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