India: Vembanad Lake in Kerala set to welcome tourists
Fully vaccinated guests can avail discounts of up to 50 per cent on houseboats.
Vembanad Lake, India's longest and the largest in Kerala, will from this month hopefully see the return of tourists who will be able to enjoy on houseboats.
The Kerala government, and the houseboat sector are both engaged in drawing tourists back to the state, especially the backwaters where visitors can spend several days on the houseboats.
“The houseboat is like a bubble offering a secluded, sanitised and safe space, which makes it an attractive holiday option during a pandemic,” Jobin J. Akkarakalam, vice-president, Kerala Houseboat Owners Federation, told the media.
“This is our USP,” he added.
According to him, everyone is looking forward to resuming business. And to attract tourists, houseboat owners are offering hefty discounts: fully vaccinated guests get discounts of up to 50 per cent, while those who are partially vaccinated get a slightly lower discount.
Similarly, tourists and the operators will have to follow the norms introduced last year including temperature checks, the mandatory wearing of masks and sanitising the boats. Details of the guests have to be mentioned in the Covid-19 Jagratha Portal.
People involved with tourism have also been classified in the frontline category and are eligible for the first round of Covid vaccination. The government is also giving maintenance grants to houseboat owners to ensure their boats can be used on the waters after a long break.
The state government is hiking its tourism marketing budget by about 50 per cent and plans to launch new campaigns highlighting houseboat holidays in the state.
The Vembanad Lake used to see nearly a thousand houseboats catering to tourists during the peak October-March season. Each boat employs about four people. The categories of boats are available - deluxe, premier, luxury and ultra-luxury.
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