Took Years to Build Islands’ Brand Name: Andaman’s Local Tourism Industry Says Modi’s Renaming Will Disrupt Business
Locals say they weren't consulted with before these changes were made.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi changed the names of Havelock Island, Neil Island and Ross Island to Swaraj Dweep, Shaheed Dweep and Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Island, respectively on December 30. The residents, however, are unhappy with this — they want other essential infrastructures like transportation and connectivity, and “names” aren’t a priority at present. The move will also have a negative impact on the tourism industry, stakeholders suggest.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, citizens are upset also because the administration decided upon these changes without consulting them. The remote Islands face problems of connectivity and transportation. Moreover, from a business perspective, the name changing move will have an adverse effect as individuals related to the tourism sector pointed out that they had “invested money in creating a brand name for ‘Havelock Island’ and ‘Neil Island’”. Now, due to the name change, it could take them several years to create a new brand.
Even before Modi’s two-day visit to the Andamans from December 29, 2018, the Andaman and Nicobar Hoteliers’ Association (ANHA) wrote a letter to the prime minister asking him to reconsider changing the names of the islands. Modi, however, went ahead with his decision. “These Islands — Havelock, Neil, Ross Island, Viper Island, Jolly Boy, North Bay, Red Skin, etc. — are synonymous with tourism. Changing the names of these islands, after having created a strong brand will cause immense loss to tourism,” G Bhasker, president of ANHA said.