Global cruise travellers have begun flocking to Kerala, bringing in some cheer to the State’s Tourism Industry, which has been hit by slowdown and the recent Thekkady boat mishap that claimed 45 lives.

With the October-May cruise tourism season setting in, already two luxury liners have called at Kochi Port, the latest - ‘Aida Cara’, which arrived here on Sunday, from Mangalore with 1,135 high net worth tourists, mostly from Germany, sailed off to Colombo on Wednesday. Earlier, a luxury vessel with 1,000 odd passengers had called at the port.

A little over 980 passengers disembarked from ‘Aida Cara’ and 954 tourists boarded it from Kochi. This is the first cruise vessel to make use of Kochi as turn-around port, port sources said.

The visitors undertook city tours, pleasure trips to nearby destinations like Fort Kochi and Mattancherry and some daring ones showed keenness to take a bumpy ‘Tuk Tuk’ ride in autorickshaw, which is very popular among visitors.

Many took houseboat rides to crisscross Alapuzha backwaters and canals, while some preferred a ‘Traditional sojourn’, which includes a visit to Vaikom Mahadeva temple, classical musical school, khadi weaving centre and coconut extracting unit.

The cruise vessel’s arrival sent cheers to those in the Tourism industry, as after the Thekaddy mishap, there were not many takers for boating and houseboat trips.

From April this year to March next, at least 27 cruise liners are expected to call at the port here.

Domestic travellers to Kerala would also soon get a feel of International cruise travel, once Cyprus based Louis Cruise lines, the world’s fifth largest cruise operators, commences service from here in December, this year.

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