Kochi, a future hub of water sports

January 20th, 2009 - 6:55 pm ICT by ANI  

By Juhan Samuel
Kochi, Jan 20 (ANI): With sprawling water bodies, Kochi became a popular boating and yachting hub for the tourists from India and abroad. After the shocking terror attacks in Mumbai, investors and sailors are turning their attention towards the Southern India.
A perfect harbour, appropriate climate and breathtaking views from the start till the end of the journey followed by a series of cultural events round the year are some of the attractions a sailor looks for.
“I think there will be a great future within the next years because there’’s a great landscape, there’’s a great climate and it is located between the Arabian Sea and the Asian area. It has great opportunity about backwaters,” said Peter Janson, German-based architect and consultant in Marina Development.
Till recently, the main location for leisure boating in the country was Mumbai. But the recent terror attacks have made the investors and sailors add the tiny city of Kochi to their list.
For the first time in the India’’s history of events, Volvo Ocean Race hit the Kochi port that made a mark and turning point in the maritime map of yachting.
Another indicator of an emerging boating market is the success of India International Boat Show being held since last five years.
Besides, the first annual general meeting of the India Marine Federation held in 2008 also shows an encouraging sign.
“In Kerala, the main thing is that 30 per cent of the Kerala population is from outside Kerala and majority is from abroad. Even if they are NRIs, they have their rich community. They are enjoying the maximum luxury items in Kerala. In future, the next stream here will be into yachting. Yachting is totally different field so we need to guide them, attract them and need to have presentations in front of them,” said Sohar Roy, CEO, Aries Group, Dubai, UAE.
Experts in this field discourse that countries like Singapore, Thailand and Arabian Gulf are very good examples to learn where leisure boating and marinas stimulated massive economic growth.
For the real investors in the leisure tourism sector there is a huge opportunity, building marinas, hotels, apartments, yacht repairing and boat building units are some of the few industries.
People in this industry believe that there will be investments above USD 300 millions in the coming years.
But with the prevailing global meltdown and financial crisis, it is a bit difficult to assume how many of the investors or the tourists will come to India. (ANI)

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