Kochi (Kerala) [India], September 23 (ANI): The newly-built cruise terminal in Cochin Port here on Wednesday received the first batch of tourists as the luxury liner MV Empress from Mumbai called at the port city, marking a promising start to the revival of domestic tourism in Kerala, said a press release.
The Lakshadweep-bound luxury cruise, carrying 1,200 travellers, had a stop-over here with 300 travellers de-boarding the ship for day-long on-shore sightseeing.
The Kerala Tourism Department accorded a warm welcome to the guests with martial Velakali dancers and women in traditional off-white dress greeting them.
The snow-white vessel, owned by Cordelia Cruises, became the first luxury cruise to anchor at the state-of-the-art terminal, after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic swept across the world.
The day-long Kochi leg scheduled a round of Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, touching several points of historical importance. Boat rides along the backwaters for the tourists to take in the charm of the 'Queen of Arabian Sea' were also arranged.
The Lakshadweep islands is the next destination of the liner, but passengers who have opted for just the Kochi package will be taken to other parts of the state, according to Voyages Kerala, the tour agent.
The tourists walked down the new-look terminal around 9.30 am, one-and-a-half hours after MV Empress anchored at the terminal in sunny weather. The guests were received by Kerala Tourism Joint Director K Radhakrishnan and Deputy Director TG Abhilash besides top officials at the port.
The Kerala Tourism signals a busy future following the waning of the pandemic even as the on-shore tour adheres to the strict COVID-19 protocols. (ANI)