LAKSHADWEEP, India (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Lakshadweep has triggered enormous tourism interest in the picturesque archipelago. Modi’s exploration of the tropical paradise, combined with his social media posts, has sparked a surge in online interest and searches, positioning Lakshadweep as a must-visit destination.

In 2021, India’s tourism faced the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic, impacting various regions, including Jammu and Kashmir. Notably, Modi’s tweet urging a visit to the tulip garden in Kashmir had led to a substantial influx of tourists. In a parallel move at the start of 2024, his focus has shifted to Lakshadweep, an idyllic cluster of 36 atolls and coral reefs in the Laccadive Sea.

Lakshadweep, meaning ‘a hundred thousand islands’ in Malayalam and Sanskrit, boasts serene beaches, crystal-clear blue waters, and a preserved natural environment, making it a hidden gem in India. However, restrictive measures and limited awareness kept tourists at bay, with only 100,000 foreign visitors recorded in 2022, a significant increase from 4,000 in 2021.

With Modi’s viral images of snorkeling, strolling on white sands, and enjoying the pristine surroundings, it fueled a massive surge in Google searches, with 50,000 on a single day.

During his visit, Modi inaugurated infrastructure projects, including the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection. His advocacy for Lakshadweep as a travel destination echoes his approach to boost domestic tourism, aligning with the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative. Modi’s promotion of Lakshadweep also serves as a potential counter to the Maldives, a popular tourist destination for Indians, but one that has raised concerns over its geopolitical alignment with China.

The surge in online interest suggests a newfound fascination with Lakshadweep, hinting at a potential boom in domestic and international visitors. If successful, this could pose a challenge to the Maldives, offering a cost-effective alternative for Indian travelers. While bureaucratic hurdles and limited direct flights remain concerns, Modi’s endorsement is seen as a positive catalyst for addressing these issues.

The timing of this tourism push aligns with the BJP’s ‘Mission South’ ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Modi’s outreach to the Muslim population in Lakshadweep also hints at political strategy, given the region’s dependence on Kerala and its significant Muslim voter base.