Houseboat terminal-cum-hub is coming up at Kadamakudy, Kochi

Houseboat industry of Kerala, mostly concentrated in Alappuzha and Kottayam districts, is spreading its focus to other regions such as Eranakulam and Malabar.

The Ernakulam District Tourism Promotion Council (DTPC) has sought the permission from the authorities to set up a houseboat terminal-cum-hub on Kadamakudy Island.

“They can also operate from DTPC’s boat terminal at Marine Drive. The Chittoor-Cheranalloor route and the water body on the north western parts of the city are ideal to operate and berth them. We intend to procure a few boats once the houseboat hub is realised at Kadamakudy,” said S Vijayakumar, DTPC Secretary.

One of the reasons for the endeavour is to exploit the opportunities of MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) tourism in the backwaters and the potential increase in tourism activities with the functioning of Kannur International airport.

House boats operating in Alappuzha is having restrictions regarding the number of boats to be operated in the area. The pollution caused to the backwaters due to sewage disposal by the houseboat also prompt restrictions on them.

“We have stopped registering houseboats in the two districts as around 900 boats in Kerala are already operating here,” said a senior official of the Ports Department.

A luxury hotel in Kochi has already got approval from the department to operate two house boats in the city.  One of them will have multiple bedrooms, while the other is for MICE tourism activities. The vessels were under construction in Alappuzha and jetties are getting ready in the premises of the hotel.  They will be on waters of Kochi within four to five months.

“The schemes envisaged by Kerala Tourism on promoting tourism in Malabar and subsequent opening of hotels and resorts have encouraged entrepreneurs to launch houseboats in Kozhikode and Kannur,” said Jobin J Akkarakalam, Secretary, Kerala House Boat Owners’ Federation.

“Subsidy to be provided for those who entering the industry in Malabar on a fist-cum-fist-served basis; same as in the case of Alappuzha in early days, to encourage them,” he added