Representative image | Photo: AP
Kochi: After a hiatus of two years, international cruise travellers are all set to arrive on Kerala shores. The first ship will arrive at Kochi port by November. With this, Kochi will regain its old glory as one of the main cruise hubs in the tourism sector.
This financial year, 38 international cruise ships arrived at Kochi shore. Main cruise lines have contacted the port officials and held discussions about arriving at Kochi. The companies have not yet informed the number of tourists who will arrive in Kochi. The booking of tickets has started.
Cruise season in Kerala starts around the time of October. Domestic services have started already. There will be 16 domestic services this financial year.
Relief for cruise lines
It is estimated that a major part of tourism income, including from Kerala, is through cruise tourism. To attract more cruise lines to India, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways had reduced the port tariff. This was to protect the cruise sector that was badly hit during the covid pandemic.
The concession given is more than 70 per cent. Big ships that ought to pay around Rs 60 lakh, only have to pay Rs 12-15 lakh. This amount is to be produced when the ship arrives at the port.
Kochi gearing up
Kochi port is all ready for new tourists. The new cruise terminal will provide all basic amenities for travellers.
More immigration counters are being set up following Covid protocol. Kochi port officials informed that the plan is to call a tender within two months to arrange more facilities in the port area.