Cochin Port Trust officials announced that the city would soon boast a new cruise terminal, 2,300m2, within a period of 2 years. A detailed project plan of the terminal, proposed by the central government, was sent to the ministry of tourism, which has granted a total of Rs 25.7 crores (USD 3,855.000 / one crore Rupees is same as 10 million Rupees; 1 Indian Rupee equals 0.015 USD) for the project.
"The new cruise terminal will follow all international immigration standard operating procedures, which would mean a structure analogous to international airports. An inclusion of counters for e-visa and e-landing permits was presented in the detailed project report (DPR). Also, the total number of immigration counters have been increased to 30 in the plan," said CPT traffic manager Jimmy George.
Officials are looking at Ernakulam wharf for the project.
Deputy traffic manager Gireesh Thomas said that the project plan has been approved by the ministry of state for highways and shipping and it has the support of Union minister for heavy industries and public enterprises Pon Radhakrishnan.
"Presently, all cruise ships longer than 250m are docked at Ernakulam wharf where there are no immigration facilities. A cruise ship that is longer than 250m will have around 2,000 passengers. Makeshift immigration counters, which are made at the wharf for the immigration process for such a huge crowd of passengers, are highly unprofessional.This is not the way to deal with tourists," said Thomas.
George said that the Samudrika cruise terminal, which is the only functional cruise terminal in the city, will be used for the proposed hydrofoil ferry services.
"The Union ministry proposed this project, considering the prospective boost to tourism if infrastructural development takes place here. An average international cruise passenger roughly spends $500 during their visit. If infrastructure is technologically advanced, tourist inflow will surge," said Thomas.