The sound of waves, the coral reef, palm leaves dancing in the mild breeze, lush green rain forests, white sand beaches and the chirping of the rare birds is what one can think about the scenically beautiful Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Andaman and Nicobar is a Union territory of India and is a home to the oldest tribes in India. The ‘Island Tourism Festival ‘in the Andaman and Nicobar islands is a showcase of the unique culture of these islands. The culture of the Andaman and Nicobar islands are different as people of all religions, languages and ethnic groups live together in total peace and harmony, hence it is called as ‘Mini India’. The ‘Island Tourism Festival’ is a ten day grand festival which includes performances like music, dance, drama along with the local handicrafts exhibition and the display of the beautiful flora and fauna.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands administration began organizing this annual festival in the Historic Gymkhana Ground at Port Blair as “Islands on the March” during the late eighties. The main intention of this festival was to promote local tribal culture and attract tourism. Later in the early nineties the festival was renamed to “Island tourism Festival” The festival is a platform of cultural programs of the different tribes who have their own culture. The tribes perform on folk tribal dance and also some known cultural troupes and artists around the globe are invited to perform during this festival. Apart from cultural programs, the festival also comprises of activities like aqua sports, parasailing, magic and puppet shows, Canoe race, Scuba diving, Nicobari Hodi Race or the Dog shows. In the evening a sumptuous delicious dinner is arranged in a well decorated floating restaurant which adds to the festive look. The culture of Andaman and Nicobar is so diverse that any festival means celebrating quality time together because the social and public life in the island is very restricted. This festival projects an image as an eco friendly tourist destination to attract tourism from all parts of the world.
The main intention of the festival is to promote and propagate the culture and traditions of the native Andaman Islands. The festival has large number of visitors from the Government Departments and Private organizations from across the country. It is believed that this festival is to keep intact the local dance forms and music which are forgotten these days. The exhibitions are a highlight during this festival because it displays the local art and craft by the government agencies and private entrepreneurs. Also a lot of information is given to the visitors regarding the flora and fauna and the exciting marine life in the seas around the islands so that the visitor can truly understand the lives of the islanders. In 2013 ‘The Island Festival’ will be celebrated from the 5th of January. In short the far flung Island comes alive during these ten days in the month of December or January.