Published on : Thursday, January 12, 2017
The number of cruise vessels visiting the port has jumped from 33 for the whole of 2015-16. The declarations for the current financial year equal the 45 cruise liners that called at Kochi during 2009-10.
Sources at the port said there were 45 declarations for the whole of 2016-17, and 26 cruise carriers had called at the port between April and December 2016.
Apart from boosting port revenue, cruise ship tourism is a major source of income for the local economy, particularly the homestay sector.
However, the wharf in Kochi is not in a position to accommodate vessels above a certain size because of limitation in turning radius. Larger vessels are berthed at the cargo terminal, from where passengers have to be taken to Samudrika at BTP terminal by bus for completing customs and immigration formalities.
A new cruise terminal estimated at ₹25.70 crore has been proposed at the Ernakulam wharf, which is likely to be commissioned in around two years from now, port authorities said.
However, the Centre’s demonetisation move dealt a blow to the cruise tourism sector, a steamer agent said. Tourists, who are otherwise all praise for Kochi, its cultural heritage and spice-rich food, have found that their shopping experience is far from satisfactory owing to the currency crunch.