While 40% tickets on passengers boats will be sold online, the rest will be set aside to be sold through counters to facilitate local commuters.
While 40% tickets on passengers boats will be sold online, the rest will be set aside to be sold through counters to facilitate local commuters.

Kerala: SWTD eyes cruise tourism revenue with online ticketing system

Currently, the 120-seater Vega-2, operating on the Alappuzha-Pathiramanal-Kumarakom-Kainakary route, is the most popular tourist cruise service.

KOCHI: Pressing on with its revival measures in tune with the changing times, the Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is all set to introduce an online reservation system, aimed at facilitating advance booking of seats for tourists in its popular cruise services from anywhere in the world.

“We’ll roll out a dedicated mobile app that can be used in Android and IOS mobile phones. Initial discussions are over. It has been decided to install GPS (Global Positioning System) in all the boats and develop a special software to facilitate online booking and tracking,” SWTD director Shaji V Nair told TNIE.

“Once the facility is introduced, tourists from anywhere can reserve seats in our popular tourist cruise boats like Vega-2 and Indra and thus plan their trips in advance,” he said.

Currently, the 120-seater Vega-2, operating on the Alappuzha-Pathiramanal-Kumarakom-Kainakary route, is the most popular tourist cruise service.

The boat, having an onboard dining facility, runs at full capacity almost on all days. Similarly, the recently launched Indra – the country’s largest solar-electric boat, operating in the Kochi backwaters – has been a hit with the tourists. The daily collection for the 100-seat cruise vessel has crossed Rs 20,000. The 90-seater ‘See-Kuttanad’ and ‘See Ashtamudi’ too are raking in revenue for the department.

“The online reservation system will also cover the water taxis plying in the Muhamma section. We’re also rolling out 20-passenger capacity tourist boats to take the visitors to interior routes. Tourists will also be able to book seats in such boats,” SWTD director said.

Meanwhile, the online ticketing system will be extended to passenger boats as well.

“However, one cannot reserve seats in advance. They can buy tickets online and board the boats. We’re in the process of introducing ticket machines with scanners. Besides, card payment and UPI mode will be introduced soon at the ticket counters where only cash is currently accepted,” he said.

While 40% tickets on passengers boats will be sold online, the rest will be set aside to be sold through counters to facilitate local commuters. “We hope to implement the plans into action in six months,” Shaji said.

For over five decades, SWTD has been operating a network of water transportation services across the state. Facing tough competition from the widening road network and water metro services in Kochi, SWTD has embarked on a revival mode. The same includes modernisation of its fleet and an image makeover, by introducing the operating staff in a completely new avatar – ironed khaki uniforms bearing name plates, shoulder flaps, stars, and brown shoes and belts.

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