Staff Reporter

India International Boat Show begins

KOCHI: The waterway from Manjeshwaram to Kovalam will be developed with the help of the Central Government, Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has said.

He was speaking after inaugurating the fifth edition of the India International Boat Show at Le Meridian International Convention Centre here on Friday.

Fifty-three national and 10 international exhibitors are participating in the three-day event. Ten huge traditional and modern boats and a host of smaller boats are put on show. "We will seek the Centre's help in clearing bottlenecks in the waterway. The State Government is taking steps to ensure optimal utilisation of existing waterways in the State," he said.

The Kottapuram-Kollam stretch of the waterway had already been declared National Waterway III.

Taking note of the pollution caused to water bodies by houseboats, Mr. Balakrishnan said the Government would promote environment-friendly houseboats.

"Eco-friendly houseboats will be given tax concessions. Many important tourist destinations in the State are not connected by good roads and other basic infrastructure. A Kerala tourism finance corporation will be set up to make available funds for readying infrastructure."

He said seaplane and helicopter services were on the anvil in the State to boost tourism.