Kochi seems to have established itself as the cruise destination in India; forty four luxury liners- with 58,000 tourists aboard- called the city last year. Chairman of Cochin Port Trust Paul Antony says that this business alone generated revenue of Rs 60 crore for Kerala. Kochi port wants to up this number by a third this year, and is targeting Rs 80 crore; fifty calls by luxury liners have already been confirmed, according to the Hindu Business Line.
Inaugurating a spanking Rs 7 crore cruise passenger facilitation centre at Willingdon Island, Antony hoped that the 1500 square metre dedicated terminal would allow Kochi to target new business. Large cruise liners like Mariner of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice, Costa Atlantica and Azamara Journey- with 3000 passengers each- were already being lured on maiden visits. This is in addition to the German Aida Cruises that have been calling Kochi since 2009; this year too, about 4000 tourists were expected from the cruise ship Aida Diva in two calls.
Kerala Tourism Minister A. P. Anil Kumar told the Hindu that Kerala’s tourism is growing at the rate of 14% as far as foreign arrivals are concerned, and that the total number of tourist arrivals has crossed the impressive one-crore mark.