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Azamara Club CruisesA one-of-its-kind product that could give major boost to regional tourism in South Asia, a cruise ship linking Kochi with Colombo and Maldives is expected to commence operations from October this year. According to Kerala Tourism Secretary G Kamala Vardhana Rao a Sri Lankan company has come forward to launch a cruise service with a capacity of 500 pax connecting the three ports. The company has had discussions with Cochin Port Trust to work out modalities and concessions recently.

A lot of Chinese and Japanese tourists who visit Sri Lanka and Maldives generally skip India. This cruise product might help Kerala to lure these tourists to their shores for couple of nights. Sri Lanka and Kerala had recently agreed to work closely to develop tourism circuits and undertake joint promotions. Joint promotional activities will be conducted by Kerala and Sri Lanka to target travellers from big source markets like China, Germany and Russia. This will help in bringing more tourists to both these destinations. When asked about the long pending sea plane project, Rao said that the services are expected to re-commence from next month, coinciding with Onam festival season.