The Cochin Port, which hosted 46 cruise liners in 2016-17, is all set to ensure that the new cruise terminal with international facilities become operational by mid-2018 at Ernakulam Wharf, said V Ramana, deputy chairman, Cochin Port.
The port had handled 34 liners in the previous year.
Port officials are upbeat as new tour operators are entering into tie-ups for including Kochi in their itinerary.
The latest to join the bandwagon is Costa Cruises. They will ply on Mumbai-Kochi and Kochi-Maldives route.
Ramana said that the decision of international cruise liners like Costa to operate in Indian waters will boost cruise tourism to Kerala.
When we talk about tourism or when people plan a trip with their family, people look at Kerala first. Moreover, Kerala seems to be the most preferred destination for tourists in India as well as abroad.
People generally prefer airlines, railways and private vehicles for travelling purposes in this regard.
If cruise services are launched via Indian waters then it would also boost our economy, he said.
A dedicated cell is functioning at the Cochin Port to manage cruise operations exclusively. Cruise vessels are given walk-in berth and no priority charges are levied in this regard, he added.
Costa Cruises, an Italian luxury cruise liner, announced that it will start three and four nights cruise line sailings from Mumbai to Kochi via Mangalore and Kochi to Maldives from November, 2017.
The Italian cruising company will start the cruise from Kochi-Maldives which will be for three nights and the cruise from Mumbai-Kochi will be for four nights.
We are delighted about increasing our capacity in this region by offering three-four night cruises dedicated to Indian market, said Nalini Gupta, managing director, Lotus Destinations which represents.