Kerala Tourism is launching its Malanad-Malabar River Cruise Project next week, the first of the 11 types of boat rides to provide individual thematic experience and to attract tourists to less-explored places in northern Kerala.
The inaugural boat will enter the waters on February 15 and will conduct trips in the waterways in Kannur and Kasaragod. The first service will be on the route linking Parassinikkadavu and Pazhayangadi.
The project will help showcase Malabar’s culture, rich with local legends and folk arts. A total of 48 boat terminals and jetties along seven rivers in Kannur and Kasaragod will be part of the project. Work on two terminals is over.
Upholding the principles of Responsible Tourism, the project will ensure the participation of local people. “It guarantees better livelihood for local residents,” said Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran. “Fisher folk, farmers, drivers of cabs and autorickshaws, handicraft workers and handloom labourers will benefit,” he said.
The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation will run the boats. Six of them as part of the first phase of the project are being built by the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation. The project is being implemented by the government’s Inland Navigation Department and State-owned KEL.
Rani George, Principal Secretary, Kerala Tourism, said the state-of-the-art boat terminals at Parassinikkadavu and Pazhayangadi in Kannur were completed at ₹7.5 crore. “Both government and private operators will run the cruises,” she said. “As for the rest of the project, 90% of the work on the terminals and jetties is complete.”
The cruise project was sanctioned ₹80.37 in September 2018 under the Swadesh Darshan scheme that promotes rural tourism circuits. Kerala Tourism Director P. Bala Kiran said the developmental work was “fast progressing” under the scheme. “The Malanad-Malabar project will get world-class cruise packages once the Swadesh Darshan enters its second phase,” he said.
The rivers Mayyazhi, Valapattanam, Ancharakkandi, Kuppam, Perumba, Kavvayi, Thejaswini and Chandragiri rivers and the Valiyaparamba backwaters will be part of the project.
Other thematic cruises are Malabari cuisine, Birds and Agriculture (along the Valapattanam river), Mangrove cruise (Kuppam), Music cruise (Perumba), Handloom and Handicraft cruise (Kavvayi and Valiyaparamba), Water Sports and River Boating cruise (Thejaswini), Model Responsible Village cruise (Valiyaparamba) and Yakshagana cruise (Chandragiri).