Tata Group's hospitality subsidiary, Indian Hotels Company (IHCL), has announced plans to build two Taj-branded resorts, scheduled to open in 2026, on Suheli and Kadmat islands in Lakshadweep—an Indian archipelago that gained attention after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to the Union Territory. This visit sparked verbal war with debate and discussions on social media, comparing Lakshadweep to Maldives.
The Indian Hotels Company signed an agreement for two Taj-branded resorts in Lakshadweep in January last year. The company stated that IHCL would be developing these Greenfield projects, slated to open in 2026.
“This signing is in line with IHCL’s pioneering spirit, which has put several destinations such as Rajasthan, Kerala, Goa and Andamans on the global tourist map. The sustainability-focused development will aim to create minimal footprint while preserving the fragile eco-system in yet another unexplored location," stated Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IHCL, on January 10, 2023, in a release.
"We see significant potential in Lakshadweep, with its pristine beaches and coral reefs set amongst the Arabian Sea. The two world class Taj resorts will attract international as well as national travellers, ” stated Puneet Chhatwal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of IHCL, on January 10, 2023, in a release," he added.
Details of the two Taj-branded resorts
The Taj at Suheli will feature 110 rooms, including 60 beach villas and 50 water villas. The Taj hotel on Kadmat Island will offer rooms comprising 75 beach villas and 35 water villas. Kadmat, also known as Cardamom Island, is a coral-rich island recognized as a marine protected area crucial for the nesting of marine turtles.
Another Luxury Resort, Praveg, Invests in Lakshadweep and Share Surge
An Ahmedabad-based small-cap firm, Praveg, known for its luxury resorts, is also developing a tent city in Lakshadweep. In December 2023, Praveg announced that it had secured a work order encompassing the development, operation, maintenance, and management of a minimum of 50 tents on Agatti Island in Lakshadweep.
An investor in his social media platform X (formerly Twitter) posted, "Tourists line up to travel to Lakshadweep and Ayodhya Investors lining up to buy praveg shares"
These tents will be equipped with amenities such as cloakrooms, changing rooms, and various commercial activities, including scuba diving, hosting destination weddings, corporate functions, and other facilities. Amidst the recent row surrounding the Lakshadweep-Maldives, the company's shares on Tuesday morning at 11:56 am IST showed a notable surge, trading at Rs 1,160.95, marking a 14.27 per cent increase.
Lakshadweep and Maldives Controversy
The controversy arose last Thursday, January 4 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a video of his recent visit to Lakshadweep to promote tourism in the region.
The situation escalated quickly, leading to highly inappropriate comments against India and racial criticisms against Indians. Maryam Shiuna and Malsha Sharyf, deputy ministers in the youth ministry, drew attention when they insulted the Indian Prime Minister. Although Shiuna's tweet has been deleted, she had referred to the Indian Prime Minister as a clown, while Malsha shared Modi's video on X with derisive emojis.