Kerala tourism will open its doors to an entirely new experience from December when the Cyprus-based Louis Cruise Lines introduces luxury cruise sails from Kochi.
Kochi port has been chosen as the home port for the luxury cruise operations by the Cyprus-based company through its Indian subsidiary Louis Cruise India.
Discussions between Cochin Port Trust authorities and officials from Louis Cruise Lines ended here on Thursday on a positive note.
Port Trust Chairman N. Ramachandran said that the new development was a great fillip to the tourism industry in the State.
The Port Trust is geared up to meet the new requirements of handling a large number of passengers, he said.
Port officials indicated that though the Port would not have any substantial financial gains through the new operations, it was ready to back the operations because the new opportunities would create a development of the tourism industry.
Port Trust sources said that Louis Cruise Lines’ luxury liner ‘Aqua Marine’ will start its operations from Kochi, carrying 1,200 passengers for a trip to Maldives, Colombo and back.
These trips planned every three to four days, indicating that the number of passengers embarking and disembarking in Kochi will be considerably large generating business for tourism related services in the city.
This can prove a big boon to hinterland tourism, said the Port Trust Chairman.
The cruise line also plans overnight high seas trips on weekends, it learnt.
The cruise company has finalised the tour charges and they are learnt to be affordable for the growing number of domestic tourists too.
The new development comes even as Kochi port is readying to become a turnaround port for the Germany-based cruise company, which will deploy its liner AIDA Cara for operations in the Asian region. AIDA Cara is expected to begin its operations from here in October, Port Trust sources said.