Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Sunday said Pawan Hans helicopter service between Port Blair and other islands would be introduced soon, for which islanders would get 90 per cent fare subsidy.
"We need to evolve innovative and ecologically sustainable ways of promoting island tourism for which there is an immense untapped potential both in Andaman and Nicobar islands and in Lakhwadeep," Vapayee, inaugurating the 10th meeting of the Island Development Authority, said.
Citing successful initiatives in Bali and Maldives, Vajpayee said: "We need to take effective steps to enable more and more mainland and foreign tourists, many of whom go to nearby destinations in South East Asia, to come here".
Vajpayee did not touch the issue of according international airport status to Veer Savarkar Airport in Port Blair besides setting up of a container trans-shipment port at Great Nicobar which were part of the agenda for the meeting held after a gap of six years.
IDA had been reconstituted in 2000.
Planning Commission Deputy chairman K C Pant, Surface Transport Minister V P Goyal, Environment Minister T R Baalu and Labour Minister Sahib Singh Verma were among those who attended the meeting.