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Kochi to be 'Florida of the East'
George Iype in Kochi |
September 09, 2004
India's first world-class marina that can accommodate 150 luxury yachts and international cruise liners at a time will come up in the backwaters of Kochi, making Kerala a hotter tourist destination.
Tourism officials engaged in finalising the project said that the marina, which would offer berthing facilities, refueling and replenishing of the stores of visiting yachts, would make virtually make Kochi, the East's Florida.
The marina, to be set up with an initial Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) investment, has been already cleared by the central government. It has also got a security clearance from the Southern Naval Command.
The Kerala government has tied up with a Malaysian company to execute the project.
Tourist Resorts Kerala Limited, a Kerala government-promoted company has joined hands with Kuala Lumpur-based Trans Resource Corporation to construct the marina to provide all facilities for international cruise liners and yachts that are passing by Kochi.
A team of Malaysian company executives led by Trans Resource Corporation Managing Director Sufi Mohammed Zain is currently in Kochi to identify a spot for setting up the proposed marina.
The Malaysian firm has zeroed in on a seven-acre plot on the picturesque Mulavukad island in the Kochi backwaters as the ideal location to set up the marina.
"The marina is the next big thing that is going to happen in Kerala tourism. The idea is to encourage every foreign cruise liner and rich Indians who own a boat to come here and park them at our marina," State Tourism Secretary T Balakrishnan told rediff.com.
He said Kerala's 540-km coastline and 1,000-km of backwaters are the most suitable locations to turn the state into a high-quality water destination.
"We want to position Kerala as the East's Florida. It will be India's first world class marina," Balakrishnan added.
He said the central government has already sanctioned the marina project for Kochi because the city has one of the best natural ports in Asia. The Kerala government roped in the Malaysian firm because it has the technical know-how in setting up the marina.
The marina will have a wet dock and a gallery with equipment and machines for carrying out repair works. It will also have luxury cruisers and jet skis.
The marina's potential stems from the fact that there are several luxury yachts, which call at Kochi, despite the current poor berthing facilities.
The state gets some about 100 yachts a year during the tourist season from September to April. Most of these visitors from Europe and Australia anchor in Kochi. Currently, there are no intermediate berthing facilities for them once they leave Dubai until they reach their destinations in the Far East. The Kochi marina will address this problem.