Foreign tourists can now directly fly to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as the government has designated Port Blair airport as an authorised immigration check post for entry into and exit from India with valid travel documents. The decision came more than a month after the killing of an American national by members of a highly protected tribe in one of the islands of the Union Territory. “In pursuance of sub-rule (b) of rule 3 of the Passport (Entry into India) Rules, 1950, the central government hereby designates Port Blair airport of Union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands as an authorised immigration check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers,” a home ministry notification said.
In another notification, the home ministry appointed the Superintendent of Police, CID, the Andaman and Nicobar Police, as the “civil authority” for the immigration check post at Port Blair airport with effect from December 31, 2018. The Andamans, under global spotlight after the killing of an American national, has emerged as one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the country receiving on an average four lakh tourists, including several thousand foreigners, annually. According to data available with the home ministry, the archipelago has received 4,02,393 tourists, including 11,818 foreigners, till October, 2018 while it received 4,87,229 tourists, including 15,310 foreigners in 2017. In 2016, as many as 4,00,019 tourists, including 15,467 foreigners, had visited the Andamans and in 2015, a total of 3,11,358 tourists, including 14,674 foreigners, had gone to the union territory, the data revealed.