Staff Reporter

ALAPPUZHA: Rainbow Cruises has bagged the State Tourism Award for the best house-boat operator for the year 2005-2006 for the third consecutive time.

The eco-friendly approach of the group, which operates a fleet of 15 house-boats in Alappuzha, helped it win the award, Rainbow Cruises Director (Marketing) Joji Mathew said on Saturday. The group planned to increase its fleet to 20 by November. He said a boat, exclusively for parties, would be among the new addition.

The group, focussing on innovative ways to reduce pollution caused by house-boats in the backwaters, is in the process of setting up a sewage treatment plant that would be operational by November.

The plant, set up on the shore, would receive waste from house-boats on the lake through a specially-designed boat that would be equipped with a collection tank and suction pipes to collect the waste from each house-boat before transferring it to the plant, he said.

Alappuzha hoped to receive a major share of its customers from the United States of America and China this year, Mr. Mathew added.