Logistics

Kochi port goes all out to woo cruise liners

Our Bureau Kochi | Updated on October 12, 2012 Published on October 12, 2012

Relax in style: The cruise passenger facilitation centre at Willingdon Island in Kochi, which was inaugurated on Friday by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution K. V. Thomas.— K. K. Mustafah.

Kochi has emerged as the most preferred cruise destination in India, playing host to 44 luxury liners from various countries last year.

The arrival of these vessels with nearly 58,000 tourists has generated revenue of Rs 60 crore to the State , Paul Antony, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust said.

This year, the port is aiming to contribute Rs 80 crore to the State exchequer since 50 calls for day visits from luxury liners have been confirmed, he said.

A cruise passenger facilitation centre costing nearly Rs 7 crore was inaugurated here on Friday to further propel the cruise tourism initiatives of the port.

Speaking at the inaugural function, the Chairman said that the port would play host to large cruise liners such as Mariner of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, Costa Atlantica and Azamara Journey, on their maiden visits. Each of these ships will carry on-board 3,000 guests. With a dedicated terminal, he said Kochi Port would now reach out to other liners to make use of the facilitation centre, which covers an area of 1,500 sq metres near the BTP jetty.

The centre would be of great use during the passenger turnaround operations of the cruise liners. The cruise ships of the luxury German Liner Aida Cruises have been using Kochi for three turnaround operations every year since 2009.

During the current year, Aida Diva will have two passenger turnarounds involving 2,000 inbound and outbound passengers during each turnaround operation, he added.

Second phase

Inaugurating the function, K. V. Thomas, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution, pointed out that tourism has entered the second phase in Kerala. The State will no longer required to be introduced as a tourism destination because it has become a well-known brand.

However, the focus should be on building infrastructure, he said. Development of roads, proper waste management system, drinking water facilities etc should become part of this initiative, he added.

He also called upon the port management to see that various port-related development projects are completed in a time-bound manner.

Kerala Tourism Minister A. P. Anil Kumar said that despite the downturn seen in the global tourism sector in 2010-11, the State registered a growth rate of 13-14 per cent in foreign tourist arrivals. The total number of tourist arrivals has also crossed the one-crore mark, the Minister said.

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 12, 2012
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