The work order to build a state of the art Rs 26 crore Cruise Terminal here with facilities to handle 5,000 tourists at Ernakulam Wharf, was issued to the contractor, officials said on Friday.
Being built for the Cochin Port Trust, the cruise terminal is expected to be ready by February 2020.
A.V. Ramana, Chairman, Cochin Port Trust, said the facilities inside the terminal, having 2,253 sq. mt. area, would include passenger lounge, crew lounge, 30 immigration counters, 8 customs clearance counters, 7 security check counters, Wi-Fi, tourist information counter, duty free shopping and other facilities.
“The estimated cost of construction of the terminal is Rs 25.72 cr and of this, Rs 21.41 cr has been sanctioned as grant by the Union Ministry of Tourism,” said Ramana.
This new terminal is a result of the joint initiative of the Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism to promote cruise tourism in India and take steps to rationalize tariff for cruise vessels to a subsidised composite tariff and exemption of cruise tourists arriving with e-visa from the requirement of bio-metric enrolment.
“Being one of the prime cruise tourism destinations in India, Cochin has been getting around 40 cruise liners every year. To support local trade, Cochin Port Trust has been offering space to local tourism entrepreneurs inside the wharf during cruise arrivals at a very nominal rate to facilitate kiosks/stalls for selling handicrafts/curios to the tourists,” added Ramana.