Alleppey: A few years ago, the representatives of Goa Tourism Department paid a visit to Alleppey. Their intention was to learn about the famed houseboats that cruised through the Vembanad Lake so that they could introduce these boats in Goa. Despite the warning, that the houseboats which are designed exclusively for lake cruises did not suit for cruises on a rougher sea, they did carry with them three houseboats when they returned. Today, those houseboats can be found lying in the front yards of some prominent hotels in Goa. They were never used for sea cruises; but were converted into homestays and restaurants at a lucrative rent.
Can we make use of the possibilities of Duck Boats that float on the shallow waters of the Goan seacoast, just as they made use of the houseboats of Alleppey? The question is raised by those at the helm of the houseboat industry. They strongly recommend that the potentials of Duck boats must be tapped for Alleppey tourism. One of the main agendas presented during the meeting of All Kerala Houseboat Owners Association was to find out the ways to utilize duck boats in Alleppey tourism. Josekutty Joseph, the President of the Association, said that they would visit Goa to study the functioning of duck boats. In the second phase, they would approach A.C. Moitheen, the Minister of Tourism, to obtain permission for the launching of this project.
The Association also requested that duck boats must be considered along with new projects to be implemented as part of the jubilee celebrations of Houseboat Owners Association. Another prominent organization in the realm named All-Kerala Houseboat Owners Federation also welcomed the duck boat project. Zachariah, the president of the Federation, said that they have contacted a tourism group in Goa and have gathered necessary information. The photographs of the duck boats were already taken. What stands in the way now is the expense of the boat. The second hurdle is to remold the duck boat according to the conditions of Alleppey. The federation also plans to travel to Goa and see the boat directly.
Tomy Pulikkattil, the owner of Pulikkattil Houseboats said that Lake Tourism in Alleppey is looking towards new horizons of expansion. According to him, the houseboat industry is constantly evolving. Fresh innovations are taking place day by day. Today, there are even houseboats with a swimming pool installed within them. The need of the hour is to attract more tourists. He also added that they had even considered a houseboat that can travel both on water and land.
Further studies and researches are to be carried out about duck boats and other cruises. Kevin Rosario, District Secretary of Houseboat Owners and Operators Association, said that earlier there was an attempt to introduce the duck boats in Alleppey. It was planned as a joint initiative by a number of groups. But, for some reason, the project was dropped. He also added that this matter will be discussed in the Organizing committee meeting of Jubilee celebration committee to be held in the coming days.