THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Keralites, a majority of them, have stood with a sense of yearning as cruise liners from around the globe reach the state’s shores, dock and then leave for dream destinations. If they have felt that a sail is beyond their reach, it could change soon.
The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) is gearing up to offer tourists from the state and beyond a luxury cruise along the Arabian Sea to exotic locations.
The KSINC has begun steps to start building a theme cruise vessel, with night-stay facilities, which can take tourists to Dubai (which is known as the City of Gold), Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands to name but only a few of the planned destinations..
KSINC Managing Director A P M Mohammed Hanish told Express the corporation has completed the technical and financial bidding rounds for the project, which was conceived by present Chief Secretary Tom Jose when he was the KSINC managing director.
Govt to give Rs 40 crore for cruise liner project
KSINC Managing Director A P M Mohammed Hanish said: “Once we get the green signal, the letters of approval and acceptance will be exchanged between the state government and bidder. The government has agreed to provide a Rs 40-crore fund for the project, which is expected to cost Rs 70-80 crore.”
The cruise liner will be able to accommodate nearly 150 passengers apart from the crew and can voyage for 6-7 days. Of late, the private luxury cruise liners have been targeting the burgeoning middle class in the cities, taking tourists to exotic locales. According to the Union Tourism Ministry, a total of 139 cruise ships carrying 1,62,660 passengers visited the country’s six major ports --- Mumbai, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai and Kolkata in 2017-18 fiscal as part of cruise tourism. The Ministry of Shipping has brought out a vision document with a view to develop India as a cruise destination.