The arrival of cruise ships in Kochi, India is bringing much-needed tourism and economic relief to the region. With 60 to 70% of cruise passengers being seniors who have ample time to explore, the local businesses and stakeholders are thrilled about the revival of the sector post-pandemic. In the 2021-22 season, a total of 31 cruise ships visited Kochi, and this number is expected to increase to 50 based on inquiries and confirmations. The most popular destinations for these tourists are Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, and Alappuzha’s backwater cruise with lunch. The domestic cruise season has already started, and international cruise ships are expected to arrive from October onwards.
Prior to the pandemic, Kochi would see about 50 cruise ships with approximately 1,500 tourists and crew members docking in the city. However, due to visa restrictions resulting from the ongoing dispute between India and Canada, Canadians may have to remain on board their ships this season. Despite this, a senior official at a Kochi-based shipping agency remains hopeful that at least one more domestic cruise operator will start operating in Kochi, as the city is considered clean, quiet, and home to friendly people. Post-pandemic, many cruise companies are offering all-inclusive packages, which include land packages that were previously an additional expense for guests.
Kochi takes pride in having the only full-fledged international cruise terminal in India, called Sagarika. This terminal, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2021, has further boosted tourism in the region. Overall, the anticipation is high for a successful cruise tourism season in Kochi, bringing both economic prosperity and joy to the region’s stakeholders.