West Coast Canal to be made Tourism Water-Highway

The Murukkumpuzha- Varkala sector of the inland waterway near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram.

The Murukkumpuzha- Varkala sector of the inland waterway near Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram.

The 633 km West Coast Canal (WCC), the main arterial waterway in the State-traversing through 11 districts, being made navigable with National Waterways specifications is to be made a Tourism Water-Highway.

“As many as 50 tourism spots will be created along the banks of the WCC corridor from Kovalam in the south to Kasaragod in north with the involvement of the local bodies. All these spots will be developed protecting the flora and fauna and based on master plan,” Tourism and Public Works Minister, P. A. Mohamed Riyas told The Hindu .

Local cuisine, culture, folk arts and handicrafts will be promoted so that local community reaps the benefit. The State’s new fuel-efficient and eco-friendly mode of transportation corridor will also be a fillip to tourism.

The pioneering Malanad-Malabar River Cruise that will provide individual thematic experiences, attract tourists to the less-explored places in northern Kerala and brighten the waterways in Kannur and Kasaragod, is to be expedited, says Mr. Riyas.

Listing out the priorities for tourism sector battered by the pandemic-induced lockdown, the Minister said aggressive marketing campaigns within the country and outside will be launched to increase footfalls of foreign tourists to 20 lakh and domestic to 3.65 crore by 2025. Kerala Tourism will work closely with the stakeholders of the industry to achieve the targets.

Mr. Riyas, who had already interacted with the representatives of various travel trade organisations, is of the view that the best way to revive the sector in the present circumstances is to promote domestic tourism and attract locals from within the State and outside once there is a decline in the present pandemic surge.

For this, the roads to tourism destinations will be developed for better connectivity and more tourism circuits will be formed by linking the destinations. A master plan is to be prepared for all major tourist destinations and local bodies will have a major say in the planned development of these destinations.

As the government’s goal is to support tourism that brings benefits to entrepreneurs, tourists and local communities alike, Mr. Riyas said Responsible Tourism will be strengthened and homestays will be promoted.

Promoting cleanliness with involvement of the local community, Green protocol and ban on plastic, restoring the glory of the Kovalam beach resort that fetched Kerala a place in tourism map and heritage and tourism circuits will get prominence. The Minister said modern technology is to be used for finding a solution to the vexed issue of disposal of waste generated by houseboats.

Mr. Riyas, who also handles the crucial portfolio of Public Works, said repair works on the State road network are in full swing and will be completed before the onset of monsoon. Focus is on road corridors damaged by rains in the previous years and to prevent prevent recurrence of damage in stretches again.

Top priority will be accorded to complete the ₹25,000 crore works initiated under KIIFB, KSTP and RIKI.

BM & BC topping will be provided to another 15,000 kms of roads and link roads will be developed from the districts to the Hill highway.

Modern technology and materials for works will get emphasis in the laying of roads to ensure that they withstand vagaries of weather, the Minister said.

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Printable version | Feb 13, 2022 8:37:08 pm |