Kochi: If everything works out as per plans of the tourism department, the Willingdon Island will emerge as the hub of high value tourism in the state.
The construction of a helipad at the island to facilitate the visit of international tourists arriving in cruise ships to popular tourist spots like Munnar is among the key proposals contained in an ambitious project the tourism department has initiated jointly with the Cochin Port Trust to develop Willingdon Island into an international tourist hub.
“The idea is to woo more international tourists to Kochi,” said a top tourism department official. “The country’s largest man-made island is unique in many ways. However, its tourist potentials are yet to be explored.”
Senior officials of the Port Trust and the tourism department who met on Tuesday to give shape to the mega project, decided to set up an adventure water sports complex and a floating restaurant, build a walkway around the island, reintroduce the historic train ride, develop the Maritime Heritage Museum and arrange for homestay accommodations.
“The helipad will give a boost to the turnaround tourism as they can reach the Nedumbassery airport in no time. It will also help cruise ship tourists to visit destinations like Munnar and Kovalam during their short stay here,” the official said.
The project will be funded by the tourism department with the help of private investors. The project cost, however, is yet to be finalised.
A decision was also taken to develop waterfront walkway where ever possible on the lines of the one existing near Thoppumpady bridge. An open air theatre, mini eateries and toilet blocks would be constructed along the walkway.
Meanwhile, the tourism department has initiated steps to set up a permanent performing arts centre (Koothambalam) at the Ernakulam wharf where international tourists can enjoy the state’s traditional art forms. A sum of Rs 1.65 crore has been sanctioned for the project....