Kochi all set to be the next leisure boating and yachting hub

January 18th, 2009 - 4:47 pm ICT by ANI  

Kochi, Jan.18 (ANI): Kochi is all set to be the gold mine for leisure and tourism industry in the coming years. Boating and the sports of Yachting are gaining popularity in this port city of the world.
Many new events related to sailing are in the pipeline and with that awaits huge investments.
With a pristine harbour, appropriate climate, welcoming people and breathtaking views from the start to the end of the journey with a year round cultural events, are some of the few attractions which sailor can look forward to and get on these waters.
Till recently, the main location for leisure boating in India was Mumbai, but the recent terror attacks have turned investors and sailors to tiny coastal city of Kochi.
Adding to it is the recent Volvo Ocean Race. For the first time in the event’’s history the race touched Kochi Port in India, which made a mark in the maritime map of yachting and a turning point.
Apart from many small sails held in Kochi, big sailing regattas ones like the Blue Ocean Race are some taking as its permanent stage.
Another indicator of an emerging boating market is the success of the Indian International Boat Show being held for the fifth year.
Other encouraging sign for the growth of boating in India was the first Annual General Meeting of the India Marine Federation held last year. Although no marinas exist in India, a major International Marina project is under way at Kochi coast, which will be a boon to such activities.
Experts in the field opine that neighbouring countries like the Singapore, Thailand and Arabian Gulf are very good examples to learn, where leisure boating and marinas stimulated massive economic growth.
Peter T, a Marina Development Architect and Consultant and also the Secretary of International Marina Community feel that it is the right time that the governments should realise the value of marina developments in the growth of tourism to catch the market.
For real investors in the leisure tourism sector, there is a huge opportunity, building marinas, hotels, apartment, yacht repairing and boat building units are some of the few industry.
In cruise tourism, Kochi is one Port to receive a large chunk of cruise liners to its shores. Last year, there was a record breaking arrivals at the Port compared to other Indian Ports, bringing highest number of tourists and revenue here.
Among Gulf countries, Bahrain is one emerging as a world leader for leisure boating. Its islands provide opportunities for exploring and the clear waters provide good fishing, waterskiing and diving.
People in the industry believe that there will be over and above investment of 300 million dollars in the coming years.
But with the prevailing meltdown and financial crisis, how much of the investors or the tourists come to India or to Kochi, one will have to wait and watch.
Leisure boating takes place from several locations the Marina Club, which has berths for some 400 boats and occupies a prime location near the business district; Al-Bandar resort, which has 300 boats in the water and on its dry stack; and the adjacent Yacht Club, which takes a further 250 boats.
There is substantial infrastructure and property development taking place, with 10 new waterside property and marina projects under way. These include the Bahrain Financial Harbour complex, Bahrain Bay, Durrat Al Bahrain and the Amway Islands. All of these projects have marinas and will be completed over the next five years. (ANI)

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