After two dull seasons, the Kochi International Marina is all set to welcome adventure tourists.
Though the yachtsmen could brave the rough seas, the pirates had been proving a more daunting proposition and signs had been ominous for the Kochi Marina during the last two seasons.
The first and the only-facility-of-its-kind in the country, Kochi Marina was struggling to ward of the offshoot of attack on sailors by Somali pirates.
“Of course, the fall in the number of arrivals of yachts has affected the Marina during the last two sailing seasons. But, this season things are likely to be different as incidents of piracy are reportedly less. Besides, the climate is also favourable for sailors,” said Commander (retired) Jose Varghese, vice-president(operations), Ocean Blue, the Mumbai-based company that operates the Marina on a three-year contract.
“Usually sailors travel from West to East. As per the information, Marinas in Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan are over-crowded. The next destination is India.
Besides, the wind direction is also favourable. These factors signals that Kochi Marine will be filled with yachts after monsoon,” Commander Jose said.
Soon after the inauguration of the Marina, there was a flow of visitors from the UK, the US, France, Italy, Germany and Switzerland. However, the last two seasons were very dull.
“At the time of inauguration, we expected an average of 10-15 yachts a month, and the response from tourists in the initial months offered much hope. However, the situation turned hostile when a sailor couple were killed by the pirates in early 2011. The incident frightened the sailors,” he said.
Beckoning adventurous seafarers, the Kochi International Marina set up by the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) on Bolghatty Island, was commissioned on April 24, 2010.
The Marina had a capacity to accommodate 34 yachts. Other facilities include a recreation house, a board walk, a wooden structure projecting into the backwaters for guests to move around.