By Juhan Samuel
Kochi, Apr 17 : By hosting 43 cruise ships between April 2007 and March 2008, Cochin Port has set a unique record of handling the largest number of such ships in a year in India.
In 2002-03, the Port hosted 11 cruise ships and followed it up with 18 in 2003-04. In 2004-05 it was 19, while in 2005-06 it was 22. In 2006-07, 38 cruise ships arrived in the port.
Some of the world's famous and most sought after ships that called at the portncluded the Queen Victoria, the Crystal Symphony of Bahamas, the SeaBorn Sprit of Bahamas, the Nautica of Marshal Island, the Aurora of Hamilton and the Seven Seas Voyager of Bahamas.
Till now, over 22,000 travelers and over 10,000 crew members haveisited Cochin Port. In 2006-2007, there were 16,000 travelers.
"The port on the international maritime route and because of the state's attraction among tourists, the port is the most sought after in India," claimed N. Ramachandran, the Chairman of the Cochin Port Trust.
"In 2008-2009, the port will be visited by eight more ships like the Columbus, the Silver Whisper and the Europa," Ramachandran added.
Considering the tremendous potential of port-based tourism, Cochin Port has decided to set up an International Cruise Terminal at Kochi with the most modern facilities. The master plan of the multi-crore project for the proposed international terminal is already prepared. It will be built on private public partnership basis, for which the feasibility report has been submitted.
The terminal will be super imposed with most modern facilities apart from hotel, convention and shopping centers and a Kerala Village depicting the art and culture of the state. Though the port generates a meager amount in handling the ships with regards to cargo ships, but it surely puts a helping hand in generating maximum number of tourist arrivals which means extra foreign currency to the booming tourism industry.