Alappuzha: The National Geographic's recognition of Alappuzha backwaters as one of the world's 17 most romantic destinations has turned a big boost for the Venice of the East.
Tour operators expect to get more holidaymakers attracted to its pristine backwaters, and they are ready with lots of gratifying services on houseboats this season. The offers include candlelight dining under stars and luxury rooms floating on the waters to sleep.
Switten George of All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association says honeymooners started coming since November. It would continue till April. "We hope the recognition to make a good impact on foreigners," he said.
The NG has placed the backwater town 10th among the 17, as a place for "couples wanting to indulge in a dream getaway." Ahead on the list are Moselle River Valley in Western Europe, Bruges in Belgium, Isle of Skye in Scotland, Mykonos in Greece, the French Riviera, San Sebastian in Spain, Yunnan Province in China, Venice and Big Sur in California. "Houseboats are decorated and rooms luxury loaded. It gets a complete makeover," he says.
The main attraction for honeymooners is a vast expanse of Vembanad Lake, calm and tranquil.
"They arrive in the monsoon to watch it getting a bit furious as houseboats cut their way through high tides," says Lyju Daniel, another houseboat owner.
TG Raghu, the secretary of Alappuzha Tourism Development Cooperative Society, said the recognition coincided with the silver jubilee celebrations of the houseboat industry.
"We are trying to get the Prime Minister for the concluding ceremony in October or November," he said.
"The new tag could help convince the PMO."...