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Indian Ocean Paradise under Threat - The Andaman Islands

July 23, 2014

The Andaman islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, are a popular tourist destination -- but they are also home to more than 300,000 people. Experts warn that rampant tourism is damaging the islands' natural environment.


The Andaman islands are scarcely mentioned in history until the middle of the 19th century, when the British built a settlement and prison there. The islands were occupied by the Japanese during World War II. Today, the Andaman islands are part of India. The archipelago is located more than 1,000 km off the eastern Indian coast, and contains more than 500 islands. The islands are one of world's few remaining natural paradises -- mostly because they're off the beaten path for most tourists.

The beaches are beautiful, largely deserted, and stretch for kilometers. But more and more travelers, and settlers from India, are discovering the Andaman islands -- and that's having a negative impact on the archipelago's indigenous people and its fragile ecosystem. The islands are home to magnificent coral reefs and incredibly diverse marine life. On many of the islands, the native people live much as their ancestors did during the Stone Age.

But the Indian government has stepped up its efforts to promote tourism on the islands -- and settlers continue to arrive from India. All of this threatens to upset a way of life that has existed throughout the Andaman archipelago for centuries. Many of the indigenous tribes are now on the verge of dying out. Our report investigates whether this unique habitat will be able to successfully co-exist with the demands of developers and tourists.

15.07.2014 DW Doku Andamannen 2
The indigenous people of the Andamans exist on what nature provides. But tourism now threatens to upset the islands’ fragile ecosystem.
15.07.2014 DW Doku Andamannen 1
Time magazine has called Radha Nagar the most beautiful beach in all of Asia.

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