In a major step to open expansive backwater base of Kerala for water-based tourism, Kerala Tourism will introduce Water Taxis and Hop-on-Hop-Off boat services from September this year. Kerala Tourism, through its dedicated agency, Kerala Tourism Infrastructure Limited, has already completed the procurement process of three boats each for Water Taxis and Hop-on-Hop-off services. According to a spokesperson of KTIL, the branding of these boats are on and will start commercial operations from next month.
“We will be introducing three Hop on Hop off and three water Taxis in Kochi, to start with. Hop on Hop off Boats are 25 seater premium A/c Boats, which will be plying at regular interval and any one who takes a day’s ticket can use it any number of times during that day. Where as water taxis are 6 seater A/c Boats which can be hired like cell cabs and will be chargeable for the distances or on the basis of hours used,” the official said. In Kochi, the Hop on Hop off will cover initially Marine Drive, Bolgatty, Vypeen, Fort Kochi, Mattancherry and Willington Island. The water taxis can be hired for journey to waterfront tourism spots in Kochi or adjoining destinations like Kumarakom, he said.The services will be operated by Kerala Tourism.
Kerala Tourism is also hopeful about commencing the commercial operations of the much-talked about Sea Plane services from next month. “The commercial operations of Seaplanes will start hopefully by mid September 2014,” the official informed. Although Kerala was the first state to explore the opportunities for sea plane services to improve last mile connectivity for tourists, the project had to be called off as a result of protests by fishermen community against the service last year. Then the government had set up a committee to conduct an impact study and submitted the report to the government.