Located in the Indian Ocean, more than 1,000 kilometres from the mainland of India, the islands are home to some of the world’s most secretive aboriginal tribes, whose privacy is strictly safeguarded by the Indian government. The territory consists of 572 islands – of which only approximately 38 are actually inhabited – and about 90 per cent of the land is covered in dense rainforest. Formerly under British colonial rule, the islands also have a strong Indian military presence.
A research associate at the University of Kent at Medway’s tourism research centre, CENTICA, Mr Reddy said the islands presented a challenge he couldn’t resist. ‘Very little information about tourism in these islands had already been published, so I really had to throw myself into a lot of active research,’ he said. ‘It is difficult for outsiders to carry out this kind of work, due to the presence of the Indian military and the policy of the Indian government in protecting the tribes.
‘It was a difficult task even to reach the majority of the extremely remote islands, especially as some of the sea routes are turbulent. For example, the return journey to the Great Nicobar Island during a visit in 2003 took eight continuous days by ship.
‘Very few people have taken the challenge on, but despite the difficulties it was exciting to be carrying out such original research.’
CENTICA – the Centre for Tourism in Islands and Coastal Areas – was launched at the Medway campus in October 2006. The centre is led by Dr Mark Hampton, who also runs the University’s Tourism Management degree course.
Mr Reddy achieved another rare feat following the tsunami of 26 December 2004, which claimed the lives of more than 7,000 people on the islands. Since the Nicobar group of islands are official tribal reserves where neither tourists nor researchers have been allowed, the entry of international aid agencies – as well as foreign media – was severely restricted.
Notices placed by the government reinforced the message, with warnings of jail terms for encroachment into reserved territories.
Having been commissioned by UNESCO – the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization – to put together a report on the impact of the tsunami, however, Mr Reddy once more gained rare access to parts of the islands in 2005. ‘The tsunami made the islands famous,’ he said. ‘The impact was truly devastating, especially in the Nicobar Islands. Some parts were actually broken into two or three new islands. Great areas of homes and natural vegetation were simply washed away. A few of my friends were among those who lost their lives.’
Now back at the University of Kent, Mr Reddy is continuing his work into the lasting impact of the tsunami on the islands’ growing tourism industry and on the communities now rebuilding their lives.
His research work is also helping to select ‘world heritage sites’ in the islands – such as Ross Island, the former administrative headquarters in the days of British rule – which can then be marketed as tourist attractions. Mr Reddy’s studies will also help with the official conservation of these historic sites.
Nick Ellwood | alfa
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy