India’s Andaman Islands region is set to lift restrictions on visiting yachts and superyachts – the major change removes the 30-day-stay regulation that had previously been in place, allowing visitors to extend their trips significantly.
R. Rathnam, who heads up Asia Pacific Superyachts’ Andaman branch, said, “There is a big change in the Andaman Islands of India for visiting yachts… the restricted area permit (RAP) is now completely removed and foreigners may stay as long as desired, per the visa validity. Thus, yachts may now stay for much longer than 30 days if they wish.
“Before, yachts interested in long stay had to leave the country and then return. The crew had to have a multiple entry visa if they wanted to spend more than 30 days in the Andamans. Now crew and guests may visit with a single-entry visa and stay as long as they want as per the validity of the visa,” Rathnam added.
The move is seen as boost to the local tourism industry. Restrictions to the archipelago, comprising 29 islands, will be lifted until 31st December 2022 – meaning foreign superyachts can now embark on trips to Havelock, North Andaman, Smith Island, East Island, Curfew Island, Tillang Chong Island, Katchal, Nancowry, Ayes Island, Middle Andaman, Interview Island, Teressa, North Passage, Baratang, South Andaman, Neil Island, Flat Bay, North Sentinel Island, Little Andaman, Chowra, Great Nicobar, Stewart Island, Kamorta, Pulomilo, Strait Island, Long Island, Little Nicobar, Narcondam Island and Land Fall Island without any permit.
As well as all this, visitors can also make trips to 11 uninhabited Islands here, although only for a day. Visitors will still require separate approvals of the authorities for visiting reserved forests, wildlife sanctuaries and tribal reserves.
Rathnam added, “Some of the islands may require a permission from the tribal department or forest department. Earlier, most of the tribal reserve and forest reserve areas were totally banned for tourists. Now it is open with permission from the concerned authorities.”