New cruise ship service connecting Maldives, Sri Lanka and Kerala expected to start in October
According to the Secretary of Tourism for the government of Kerala, Mr G Kamala Vardhana Rao, a cruise ship linking the Maldives with both Colombo and Kochi in the Indian state of Kerala is expected to commence operations this October.
The cruise is being launched by the Colombo-based Herbilan Cruises Lanka Pvt Ltd (HCLPL) and will go on till March 2017. The seven-day-six night cruise aboard a ship bearing the Panamanian flag will follow the Colombo-Kochi-Maldives-Colombo route.
“The cruise ship will call on the Kochi Port on October 3 and it can carry 590 tourists and 260 staff,” the Chief Executive Officer at HCLPL, Ivan De Almeida told Indian newspaper The Hindu.
The ship will offer Presidential, Luxury and Deluxe suites.
The launch of the cruise ship follows the efforts of Kerala Tourism and Sri Lankan Minister for Tourism A.P. Anil Kumar to increase the footfalls to the state during the Visit Kerala Year.
Having launched their ‘Visit Kerala 2015’ campaign in April – a new initiative of Kerala Tourism – the South Indian state has been aggressively promoting itself as a tourism destination for both domestic and international travellers.
Also in April, it was reported by the Sri Lankan Financial Times that delegates from both Sri Lanka and Kerala agreed to collaborate in the tourism sector, seeking to enhance the flow of tourists between the two destinations, with particular focus on Chinese tourists. The report went on to state that “The Kerala tourism department is also planning to forge alliances with Lanka and Maldives to create a tourism circuit.”
The new cruise route is likely a result of those collaborations. Whilst both Sri Lanka and the Maldives enjoy high numbers of Chinese visitors, Kerala has until now generally been overlooked as a destination by Chinese.