: The river cruise service, introduced in the Chunnambar river by the Puducherry Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC), has become a new attraction to tourists who come here on weekends. The inflow of tourists doubled as several improvements have been introduced to woo visitors.

The Chunnambar river lies seven km from Puducherry, along the Cuddalore Main Road. A large number of tourists from Bangalore and Chennai head to this pristine backwaters to ride in boats or enjoy water sport activities at a point where the Chunnambar river backwaters meet the Bay of Bengal. A few minutes’ ride from the mainland, Chunnambar Boat House, takes tourists to Paradise Island which is surrounded by sea and river.

Recently, the ‘Sea Cruise’ boat lying at Thengaithittu Harbour was spruced up to launch the river cruise service in the Chunnmabar backwaters. The boat now is an 80-seater, replete with kitchen, meeting floor and other comfort features.

PTDC chairman Vaiyapuri Manikandan told The Hindu, “It is boating with a different experience. In the newly introduced boat, mini-conferences, parties and other events can be conducted by corporate companies and marketing firms.”

Besides the river cruise services, the PTDC has also introduced several new services such as banana boat, wind surf, kayak, canoe, rowing and speed boats. An official said that after introduction of river cruise boat, “we are able to extend our service until 5 pm.’’

Shruti Kanwar from Bangalore said, “It is an enjoyable boat ride to Paradise Island. In pristine backwaters, we can watch the twirling waters sparkling in the sunlight. ”

“Sometimes it is frustrating to stand in queue for long. Comparing with other tourist spots elsewhere, there is less pollution in the water here,” said Haroon Das from Kochin.

According to officials, more number of tourists visited the spot than last year. Approximately 4,000 persons had visited on weekends in May.

The PTDC’s revenue has touched Rs.50 lakh which is an all-time high for the month of May. It was Rs.30 lakh in May during 2013. P.Rajavelu, Minister for Tourism told The Hindu, “We are undertaking several works at a cost of Rs.10 crore to improve the facilities. The government has ordered new boats to add the fleet here.”

Explaining new plans for improvement of tourism in the State, Mr.Rajavelu said: “Overall, we have good tourist inflow in this year. There is a 25 per cent increase in inflow of tourists. The State government submitted a detail project report to improve the tourism in Puducherry at the cost of Rs.84 crore to Union government”

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