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Global recognition for houseboats of Kerala

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Serene: A houseboat in Kumarakom, Kottyam.
Serene: A houseboat in Kumarakom, Kottyam.

A cruise along the waterways in a houseboat is the most enchanting experience for the tourists arriving on a holiday to the State. Cashing in on the demand from the tourists, houseboat operators are coming up with innovative products.

Houseboats have become mascot of Kerala Tourism. Several accolades have been bestowed on the houseboats. A unique tourism product of Kerala, several States have evinced interest in replicating them and to introduce them in their water bodies.

The latest is the listing of the houseboats as one of the five ‘ Enchanting Escapes' from around the globe by ‘Asia Spa.' The other enchanting escapes mentioned in the three-page article by Lorraine Rodrigues are Belgian town of Bruges, Hua Hin, Thailand and Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

The houseboats from Kerala with a photograph figure in the list of “unique fascinating sweet spots from around the globe.” It says the “backwaters are where you can truly enjoy the privacy and simultaneously reconnect with nature at close quarters.”

The listing has come at a time when the 500-odd houseboats were affected by the drop in tourist arrivals due to economic crisis all over the world. “It is a big achievement for the houseboat operators and for the tourism industry of the State,” says Tomy J. Pulickattil, a leading house boat operator.

The comfortably furnished houseboat with all modern facilities as in a room of a hotel is the holiday home for foreign and domestic tourists arriving in God's Own Country.

Modified to meet the novel concept of holidaying, the houseboat with conference hall is aimed at those who want to combine business and leisure. The groundwork for constructing an antique houseboat and the one that will move along the road instead of the backwaters has commenced. Mr. Tomy, who has come up with several innovative products, says the listing of the houseboats had come at a time when the operators were going through a lean patch.

S. Anil Radhakrishnan

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