Tourism, trade industries pin hopes on Kochi-Male ferry
One of the key beneficiaries of the ferry service between Kochi and Maldives, an agreement which was finalised during the talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, would be the tourism sector, particularly medical tourism.
The passenger-cum-cargo service, which is yet to be initiated, is expected to boost the export of commodities.
In 2017, Maldivian tourists to the state number 38,769 and the following year saw the number increase to 42,237 despite several adverse factors like floods and Nipah virus outbreak affecting the state.
Tourist and trade organisations in Kerala are keenly awaiting further details like the type of ship that will operate and the rates.
A leading tour operator in the state and president of the Kerala Travel Mart Abraham George told DH that the impact of the decision would depend mainly on the type of ship that will operate.
“If it is a luxury cruise, it would obviously boost the tourism sector. If it is a normal passenger-cum-cargo vessel, it would benefit medical tourism sector as even those who could not afford the air fares could come down to south Indian states for treatment,” he said.
Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Kerala State Council head Savio Mathew said that since lot of development activities were taking place in Maldives, the introduction of cargo services could boost export of electronic and electric goods from India to the archipelago.
“Also, Maldivians have an attraction towards Indian ready-made dresses.
The real impact of the service would depend its cost,” he said.
But now Maldives has good air connectivity to various destinations in India and as well as other countries like Sri Lanka and Singapore,” he said.