The Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) is all set to begin a tour division to help tourists with their travel needs.
The agency also plans to begin conducted tours to various destinations in the district, said District Collector and DTPC chairman P.I. Sheikh Pareed, who mooted the project.
“Tourists would be able to book air and rail tickets through the agency, without being exploited by unscrupulous people. They would also be able to book taxi and tourist boat trips. The ground floor of the agency's office will function as the front office for this, while the administrative block would be shifted to the upper floor,” he said.
Though the KTDC used to organise conducted tours in buses and boats, the service is now confined to boats. With funds from Kerala Tourism getting delayed, the DTPC intends to begin the tour division using its own funds. “Domestic tourists too can reserve air and rail tickets online. We also intend to open an information counter,” said DTPC secretary T.N. Jayasankar.
The agency would have tie-ups with taxi operators and their panel is being readied.
The DTPC would get a nominal amount as commission from the tour operations, so that it is richer by around Rs.80,000 per month. There would be four counters in the agency's office.
“The Collector mooted the idea since agencies in the public sector are not offering such a wide range of services to tourists. Many tourists are exploited by private players in the absence of standardised norms. We would be able to ensure the safety and security of tourists who book tours through us,” Mr. Jayasankar said.
The DTPC also plans to classify the tourist boats that operate in the district, mainly from Marine Drive. This would be based on the facilities offered in each vessel. The tariff for hourly cruises will be regulated to prevent guests from being cheated, he said.
Kerala Tourism is yet to standardise the operation of boats, despite major accidents like the one at Thekkady involving a tourist boat. In the long run, the DTPC's aim is to enhance the quality of tourism amenities in Ernakulam district.