Alappuzha: A mega houseboat rally titled ‘Back to backwaters’ was held by the tourism department here on Friday to revive the backwater tourism in Alappuzah.
Tourism Minister Kadakampally Surendran, who inaugurated the event, said Kerala’s tourism sector had made a strong comeback after the deluge. “The number of foreign tourists has not come down drastically though Nipah virus, Ockhi cyclone and the floods hit the state. However, the arrival of domestic tourists saw a dip after the floods which badly affected the houseboat sector. This rally will be a boon to the industry,’’ he said.
The rally, attended by 225 houseboats and over 100 shikaras, was flagged off by cricketer Kedar Jadhav at Punnamda finishing point. The District Tourism Promotion Council has also organised a photo exhibition, bike rally and cultural items as part of the programme.
The bike rally was held from Alappuzha beach to the houseboat terminal at Punnamada. The photo exhibition based on the recent floods is being held at the houseboat terminal. The people attending the rally enjoyed three hours of free houseboat cruising.
Later, the minister flayed the hartal called by the BJP in Pathanamthitta on Friday and said that the party was trying to create martyrs for political gains. The body of Pandalam native Sivadas was found 15 km from Nilakkal. His family did not raise any complaints, but the BJP has alleged a mystery behind his death. The people will understand the agenda of BJP which is trying to create trouble in the state,’’ he said.