The boats will be manned by KSINC personnel, while the KTDC would issue the tickets. Initially, the KTDC would use the boats for its Kochi site-seeing tour.
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC)’s conducted tour operations in the State is set to get a boost, with the agency planning to utilise the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation’s (KSINC) vessels for the purpose.
The two government agencies would ink an MoU this month to operate the services. “This is an apt example of how the two agencies are utilising each other’s expertise, for common benefit. Our strength is our marketing network, while the KSINC has the expertise in operating boats and maintaining them. We opted for KSINC because we need to ensure the safety and security of our guests,” said a senior KTDC official.
The boats will be manned by KSINC personnel, while the KTDC would issue the tickets. Initially, the KTDC would use the boats for its Kochi site-seeing tour. The KTDC is operating three such tours and the maximum demand is for its tour of historic locales in Fort Kochi and Mattancherry. They usually begin at 9.30 a.m. and 2.30 p.m., for which the fare was Rs 150 per head.
The agency also operates backwater tours, in Vaikom and Central Kerala.
This is apart from the Kochi metro village backwater tour, where guests are taken in a boat on a tour of Cheranalloor and other picturesque locales located off the city. It also operates customized package tours from its star hotels.
A KTDC-owned boat operating in Kochi had been auctioned off over two years ago, following the Thekkady boat tragedy.
It used to hire private boats for its city tours, the contract expired a week ago, sources said.
A KSINC official said that the arrangement would be tried out across the State, based on the feedback for the Kochi operations.
The KTDC is also probing the possibility of promoting the KSINC’s premium vessels – Sagara Rani I and II, that operate from its jetty at Marine Drive. Their sunset cruises are a big hit, since they are the only vessels that can venture into the sea off Fort Kochi. The KSINC also offers exclusive dinner packages, where singers render gazal songs. Exclusive package trips operate all through the day.
The agency plans to rebuild its boat jetty here at a cost of Rs 2 crore. “The aim is to provide more berthing facility for boats and to construct an aesthetically-designed office building here.
The GCDA has given its clearance. The project will help in extending the Marine Drive walkway in the north-westerly direction. A restaurant too has been planned, in the first floor. An air-conditioned passenger lounge, toilets and solar lighting too have been envisaged,” sources said.
For more details of the KTDC’s boat services call, 2353234 and for KSINC boats call 2368646 or 98462 11143.