After lot of controversies and delays, finally the much hyped sea plane service was expected to take off during Onam from the backwater cities of Alappuzha and Kollam, a top Official form the Tourism Department said today.
‘The government has succeeded in clearing the concerns and anxiety over the sea plane service among the fishermen community and other quarters and we are expecting that the much awaited Kerala’s sea plane service would be launched during Onam,’ Kerala Tourism Secretary Suman Billa said.
After the concerns and wide spread objects from the fishermen community that the sea plane service would affect their livelihood, the government had to postponed the service on several occasions, even it was officially launched by Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy at Kollam quite some months back, he said.
Following the objections, the government had constituted a committee to study about the issues raised by the fishermen and its report were published in the web site for suggestions and clarifications. The government had also put some suggestions cage fishing and some other alternative income generating methods for the fishermen.
Since there were no complaints or suggestions received from the public, the government was expecting that they were admitted the conditions put forward by the government and the service would be able to commence by Onam.
Since there were some issues from Alappuzha, the place of sea plane was shifted to Vattakayal and the other places would remain the same, he added. Four operators, including one from Kerala, are in the forefront for commencing the service, he added.
With an eye to promote tourism in a big way, Kerala Tourism Department will soon start Water Taxi and Hope on Hope of boats to lure more tourists to the state.
‘As part of promoting tourism in a big way, the Tourist Department would start operation of Water taxis and Hope on Hope of boats by next month, as part of promoting tourism in big way,’ he said.
The Tourism Department had acquired three airconditioned boats with seating capacity for six for the purpose and those tourists who wanted to take these boats on rent would be booked in advance or summon them like call taxies to take a round of the backwater city. Regarding ‘Hope o Hope of Boats’, the tourists could take tickets and be able to go round the important tourists places and enjoy the natural beauty of Kerala, he said, adding that the pricing system would be decided soon.
Mr Billa said the turn out of both foreign and domestic tourists were promising as a nine and eight point five per cent of hike were recorded in the season. Regarding the fear of single woman tourists from abroad who was hesitating to choose India as their destination because of the recent reports of harassment against women, he said ‘the tourism department was taking all measures to convince the tour operators in abroad that the state is very safe for women and there were no instances of women’s harassment reported and trying maxium to take the situation towards states favour.’
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