Kochi, Nov 14: Kerala Tourism Minister AP Anil Kumar has introduced water taxis and hop-on hop-off boat services to increase the potential of backwaters for state tourism.
"This initiative by Kerala Tourism under the state government is aimed to help tourists explore the tropical coastline and backwaters," said the President of Kerala Travel Mart Society, Abraham Georg.
"One of the latest initiatives by the department of tourism by introducing the hop-on hop-off taxi boat service in Cochin. And that too Cochin is being surrounded by full of waterways. Kochi has coming up in the big way by boosting this hop-on hop-off," he added.
As Kerala is surrounded by waterways, the services have been launched with the view to ensure the "last-mile connectivity" to tourist destinations, and lure more and more tourists to Kerala backwaters.
"The greatest asset of the entire Kerala and in particular Kochi is its backwaters, which makes a great experience for the tourists and this service will be an added advantage for any tourists coming to the state," said the secretary of Kerala tourism, Suman Billa.
"We have also got water taxis which are private boats, six-seater, fully air-conditioned boats, both of them. And you can hire the boat and can go to any place. Suppose you want to go from Kochi to Alleppey or Kochi to Kumarakom, you can use the boat, the water taxi to go there. It is like a private chartered boat," he added.
The hop-on and hop-off boats are air conditioned with seating accommodation for 25 passengers at a time which will be plying at regular intervals. One buying a day's ticket can travel in it for any number of times within 24 hours.
The passenger can get into the boat from any boat jetty and can step down at whichever destination he wants where the boat travels. Besides having a new experience one can also avoid road traffic congestion.
The water taxis are 6-seater air-conditioned boats which can be hired by individuals or groups. The rides on water taxis will be charged according to the distance or number of hours. These taxis can be hired for visiting waterfronts tourism spots in Kerala.
The hop-on hop-off boats will connect all major tourist attractions like Marine Drive, Bolgatty Palace, Vypeen, Fort Kochi, Willingdon Island and Mattancherry.
If the service picks up, the tourism department plans to introduce more such boats and enhance the facilities.
Interestingly, the boats have been used as the moving canvas for works of art as each boat has a theme-based painting done by young and eminent artists of the state.
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