Friday, October 30, 2009

Cruise travellers make a beeline to Kerala

29 October 2009

Kochi, Oct 29: Global cruise travellers are beginning to flock Kerala, bringing some cheer to the state's tourism industry hit by the slowdown and the recent Thekkady boat mishap.

With the October-May cruise tourism season setting in, already two luxury liners have called at Kochi Port, the latest - 'Aida Cara', which arrived here on Sunday from Mangalore with 1,135 high net worth tourists, mostly from Germany sailed off to Colombo Wednesday.

Earlier, a luxury vessel with 1,000 odd passengers had called at the port.

A little over 980 passengers disembarked from 'Aida Cara' and 954 tourists boarded it from Kochi.

This is the first cruise vessel to make use of Kochi as turnaround port, port sources said. The visitors undertook city tours, pleasure trips to nearby destinations like Fort Kochi and Mattancherry and some showed keenness in taking a bumpy 'Tuk Tuk' ride in an autorickshaw.

Many took houseboat rides to crisscross Alapuzha backwaters and canals, while some preferred a traditional sojourn, which includes a visit to Vaikom Mahadeva temple, classical musical school, khadi weaving centre and coconut extracting unit.

The cruise vessel's arrival sent cheers to those in the tourism industry as after the Thekaddy mishap, there were not many takers for boating and houseboat trips.

From April this year to March next at least 27 cruise liners are expected to call at the port here.

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