February 17, 2023: The Kerala government has announced the launch of cruise tourism initiatives connecting major coastal tourist destinations in Kerala and has allotted Rs 5 crores crores for the project based on a draft policy on cruise tourism by the director of tourism.
It will connect Kovalam, Kollam, Kochi and Beypore in Kerala to Mangalore (Karnataka) and Goa.
In recent months cruise ships are regularly calling on Kerala: three cruise ships - The World, Artania, and Le Champlain - called at the Kochi port, bringing a total of 781 tourists and 860 crew members.
The vessels anchored at Sagarika, the first full-fledged international cruise terminal in India that started in 2021. Kochi is the only port in India to have two world-class cruise terminals. They are named Samudrika and Sagarika.
The number of cruise ships that called at Kochi during the current fiscal reached 23 (including 13 domestic cruise vessels) as per the figures till January 17, 2023. The vessels brought in a total of 40,410 guests, including 29,878 tourists and 10,532 crew members. During the November 2022-May 2023 season, a total of 33 cruise vessels were scheduled to berth at Kochi.
A majority of the travellers went on to explore tourist locales in Kochi city, West Kochi Fort Kochi, and the Alappuzha backwaters. The guests who opted for the backwater cruise in houseboats had lunch on board. A group visited Kumbalangi - India’s first model tourism village - and experienced ethnic activities including pottery and fishing.
To provide a new shopping experience for cruise passengers, an experience zone named ‘Kochi Haat’ - modelled on ‘Delhi Haat’ - will be set up opposite the cruise terminal, providing platform for local artisans and vendors to sell handicrafts, ethnic and Ayurveda products, apparel, and spices and other authentic products.