Cochin Port Trust has issued a work order for the construction of a new cruise terminal, which will be operational at Ernakulum Wharf by February 2020.
The terminal, which will cover an area of more than 2,250m2, will include passenger and crew lounges, immigration and customs clearance facilities, security check counters, a tourist information facility, duty free shopping and a cafeteria.
In recent years the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism have jointly taken a number of initiatives to promote cruise tourism in India. This includes the rationalisation of tariffs for cruise vessels entering India’s ports and introducing easier visa requirements.
As one of the prime cruise tourism destinations in India, Cochin has been getting around 40 cruise ship calls every year, bringing tens of thousands of high net worth international tourists to Kerala. It is estimated that every cruise tourist spends on an average US$ 400 per day during local visits. Building the new terminal is expected to further strengthen this fast growing business, generating economic benefits for the region.
Currently cruise vessels up to 260m in length are handled at the BTP berth and Samudrika, the cruise passenger facilitation centre. However, vessels over 260m are handled at Ernakulum Wharf, and this is the reason that the new cruise terminal will be built here, the Trust says.