The gateway to Kerala attracts cruise ships by the dozen. 55 foreign-flagged cruise ships have already confirmed that they will call at the port of Kochi in the next two years (2023-2025). A cruise ship flying the Norwegian flag is scheduled to call at the newly built Cochin Cruise Terminal in March.
The New York Times’ inclusion of Kerala in its list of 52 must-visit places in the world in 2023 may have played a large role in the huge increase in foreign-flagged ships calling at the port.’ It is true when it comes to showcasing cruise tourism in India, Kochi is the best destination. So it won’t be a surprise if more cruise ships call,” said Rajesh PR, tour guide.
Recalling a recent conversation with a tourist, Rajesh said, “The visitor was very grateful for the Port of Cochin. The person said that among the various ports including the port of Mumbai, the port of Cochin has the best facilities. The customer said the new cruise terminal is very good and of a high standard.”
Commenting on the impetus that the arrival of cruise ships will bring to the tourism industry, Jose Dominic, former CEO of CGH Earth and tourism expert, said: “Cruise travelers have an important role to play in revitalizing the tourism industry. The cruise ships will bring visitors to many of our key tourist destinations such as Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Kumarakom and places in Alappuzha.”
“That, in turn, will bring business to people associated with the food industry, auto rickshaw drivers and houseboats. They’ll create a lot of buzz with bulky purchases, as cruise lines don’t have baggage weight restrictions,” he said. Above all, he says, the most important role that these cruise tourists will play will be to attract more visitors.
“Word of mouth is stronger than any advertising. When the visitors return home and paint a pretty picture of the places they visited in Kochi and the other destinations, the listeners will be fascinated. This will prompt them to plan a trip to Kerala,” he added.
According to Rajesh, a lot of infrastructure needs to be done as soon as travelers arrive. “It takes about two hours to drive to Alappuzha, which is 60 km from Kochi. However, as one customer said, the standard-scale ride should only take an hour. But we hope that the problem will be solved once the road is rehabilitated,” he added.
Even as Kochi develops into a center of cruise tourism, the same must happen in Vizhinjam, Rajesh said. “These two ports will serve as a connecting route for tourists to visit Kerala,” he added. According to him, the state government can also help by seeking a reduction in mooring fees at the port of Cochin.
The New York Times’ inclusion of Kerala in its list of 52 must-visit places in the world in 2023 may have played a big role
A cruise ship flying the Norwegian flag is scheduled to dock at the newly built Cochin Cruise Terminal in March
Even as Kochi emerges as a hub for cruise tourism, the same must happen in Vizhinjam, tourism experts say