The number of cruise vessels sailing to the port this fiscal would be considerably less when compared to last year. Industry sources are blaming the dip, which has cast a shadow on the state’s tourism sector, on the European recession.
Sources in a leading shipping agency, which handles cruise vessels, said they have received confirmation of only 30 vessels till April next year. Months from November to April were always promising for Kochi, which is considered a sought-after port. The Cochin Port Trust website shows three cruise vessels are expected to call at the port in November.
Since 2002, there has been a steady growth in the number of cruise vessels coming to Kochi. In 2002-03, Cochin Port played host to 11 cruise ships, followed by 18 during 2003-04. While it was 19 during 2004-05, the number went up to 22 during 2005-06. In 2006-07, 38 cruise ships arrived at the port. In 2009-10, as many as 39 vessels called at Kochi in 2009-10. In 2010-11, the number touched 40. The number went up to 50 in the last fiscal.
Cochin Port Trust officials, while confirming the fall in the number of cruise vessels, said the percentage of fall is not high as it is made out to be. “A primary look into the figures show that fall is just by five or more in numbers,’’ said a senior official of the Cochin Port Trust.
CPT sources said that this is not an isolated phenomenon. “Most of the vessels that sail to Kochi were from Europe. Owing to the recession, many shipping lines, it is learnt, to have curtailed their circuits. This has affected Kochi also,” he said.
Since 2011, there has been a drastic fall in the number of yachts sailing to Kochi due to piracy fears.