The state government is planning to start cruise ship services from Beypore next year as more funds have been allocated for dredging at the port, said Minister for Finance KN Balagopal today.
Balagopal was speaking after the inauguration of the third edition of the four-day Beypore International Water Fest (BIWF) at Beypore Marina Beach here.
Balagopal and Minister for General Education V Sivankutty jointly inaugurated the event, a popular celebration of water sports and entertainment ahead of the New Year.
The Finance Minister said funds have been allocated for dredging to increase the depth of the river at the port, and before the next edition of BIWF, the cruise ships will start their journey from the port.
“The domestic cruise ships that can carry around 300 to 500 passengers will launch their services first. It will be crucial for tourism in the state, and more people will turn up for the annual BIWF,” he added.
Balagopal said under the SagarMala scheme, there are plans to construct big roads as well as renovation of the wharf at Beypore port.
Sivankutty said BIWF has already earned popularity in the global tourism arena with its huge public participation and riveting programmes.
Tourism Minister PA Mohamed Riyas, who presided over the function, said Beypore International Water Fest was conceived as the perspective of boosting Kerala tourism through the development of Malabar tourism.
Riyas said the Beypore Fest has helped ramp up harmony and unity among people, besides attracting tourists from other states and abroad.
Ahamed Devarkovil, MLA, and Corporation Mayor Beena Philip were the chief guests at the function.
The major activities of BIWF will be held at Beypore Marina Beach, Chaliyam Beach on the banks of Chaliyar River, Nallur and Beypore Port. Several programmes have also been planned in different parts of the city, including Kozhikode Beach, to attract international and domestic tourists.
The opening ceremony was followed by a musical performance by Haricharan Band.
BIWF is organised by the Department of Tourism in association with the District Administration and District Tourism Promotion Council.
District Collector Snehil Kumar Singh welcomed the gathering.
District Panchayat Vice President Gavas P; Block Panchayat President T K Shailaja; Chairperson of Municipality, Ramanattukara, Bushra Rafeeq; Chairman of Municipality, Feroke, N C Razak; Tourism Joint Director D Gireesh Kumar; and KTIL Chairman S K Sajeesh were also present on the occasion.
The Responsible Tourism and Textile Art Festival will be held from December 26 to 30 as part of BIWF at E K Nayanar Mini Stadium at Nallur.
BIWF features an array of cultural programmes, mega food festival and adventure sports activities, besides the opportunity to visit Navy, Army and Coast Guard ships, the International Kite Festival featuring five countries, a dinghy boat race, fly board demo, surf ski demo, flea market, paramotoring, sailing regatta and net-throwing.
Participants from Turkey, Vietnam, Oman, France and New Zealand will attend the International Kite Festival as part of the BIWF, besides several Indian states. The food festival will be held at Parisons Ground at Beypore.
The activities also include cycling, a stand-up paddle race, a water treasure hunt, an Army martial arts show, a Navy band concert, a country boat race, body board demo, angling, a fibre canoe race, wing foiling and a Churulan Vallam race.
A boat parade will be the highlight of the concluding day.
On December 27, singers Siddharth Menon and Nitya Maman will present a music programme at Beypore Beach, while Nishad and Mridula Warrier will perform at Chaliyam.
Singer Unnimenon’s music programme will be held on December 28 at Beypore Beach and ‘Afsal Night’ has been scheduled on the same day at Chaliyam.
Sachin Warrier and Arya Dayal Band will perform on the concluding day at Beypore Beach.
A coastal strip six km south of Kozhikode, Beypore had functioned as a port, providing a vital link in maritime trade with West Asia, long before the advent of the Western colonialists.