Kayak expeditions get set to boost tourism in Vembanad in Kerala

A view of Vembanad Lake at Naalupank near Kumarakom.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

As the lakeside villages of Kottayam look to bounce back from the pandemic-induced slumber, tourism in Vembanad Lake is now moving over from boat cruises to self-guided kayak expeditions.

Adding a fresh layer of experience to the backwater tourism sector, the District Tourism promotion Council is launching a fleet of 26 kayaks at the SN Pavilion in Kumarakom. The agency has already invited bids from licensed operators to run the service, which is slated to begin in a few months.

“We have in hand about 30 kayaks and three Shikara boats and of these, as many as 26 kayaks, including 13 single-seaters, will be stationed at Kumarakom. Based on the response, a decision on deployment of the remaining boats will be taken later,'' said Bindu Nair, secretary, District Tourism Promotion Council, Kottayam.

Since the kayak operations involve some initial costs, the agency is waiting for the tourist footfalls to pick up before launching the service. “The plan was to kick off the service with the Onam season. But in the absence of international tourists, the operations will be viable only if we have the student groups around,” said the official.

Rural economy hit

The launch of kayaks, among a slew of other measures, is expected to give the much-needed push to the tourism business in the region, which has been grounded to a halt since the COVID-19 outbreak last year. The fall in business has affected the rural economy badly, leaving the stakeholders such as artisans, tour guides, restaurants offering ethnic cuisine and the local transport operators in dire straits.

Meanwhile, the authorities have also decided to open up the hill-side destinations of Illikkal Kallu and Aruvikkuzhy waterfalls in Kottayam in view of the Onam season.

The stakeholder agencies are now betting heavily on the vaccination drive, which is almost complete in the tourism sector, to accelerate the consumer confidence needed to drive up tourist footfall.

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Printable version | Sep 29, 2021 5:08:04 AM |

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