Kochi

Houseboats all set to make a splash in Kochi, Malabar region

New journey: One reason that is prompting houseboat operators to venture into other districts is the cap placed on the number of houseboats in Alappuzha and Kottayam.

New journey: One reason that is prompting houseboat operators to venture into other districts is the cap placed on the number of houseboats in Alappuzha and Kottayam.   | Photo Credit: Thulasi Kakkat

Houseboat terminal-cum-hub planned on Kadamakudy island

Kerala’s famed houseboats are making a foray into Ernakulam and Malabar in a big way, catering to demand for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism in the backwaters, and foreseeing a hike in tourist arrivals once the Kannur international airport is opened later this year.

Another reason that is prompting houseboat operators to venture into other districts is the cap placed on the number of houseboats in Alappuzha and Kottayam, where their proliferation led to issues such as sewage disposal. “We have stopped registering houseboats in the two districts since a bulk of the 900 such vessels in Kerala operate here,” said a senior official of the Ports Department.

The Department recently approved drawings for two houseboats to be operated by a newly-launched luxury hotel in Kochi. One of them will have multiple bedrooms, while the other is meant for hosting conferences. The vessels were under construction in Alappuzha and jetties were being readied on the hotel’s premises to berth them, sources said. Their expected operations from there in another four or five months will mark the formal entry of houseboats into Kochi.

Meanwhile, the Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has sought the permission of Kerala Tourism and Local Self-Government Department to set up a houseboat terminal-cum-hub on Kadamakudy island.

“They can also operate from DTPC’s boat terminal at Marine Drive. The Chitoor-Cheranallore route and the waterbody on the north western parts of the city are ideal to operate and berth them. We intend to procure a few boats once the houseboat hub is realised at Kadamakudy,” said DTPC Secretary S. Vijayakumar.

Kozhikode, Kannur

The emphasis laid by Kerala Tourism on promoting tourism in Malabar and subsequent opening of hotels and resorts has prompted entrepreneurs to launch houseboats in Kozhikode and Kannur, said Jobin J. Akkarakalam, secretary, Kerala House Boat Owners’ Federation. He sought the provision of subsidy for early birds entering the sector in Malabar, as was done over a decade ago in Alappuzha to encourage houseboats.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 7:30:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/houseboats-all-set-to-make-a-splash-in-kochi-malabar-region/article24962986.ece

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