Kochi, Oct 21 (IANS) Kerala is all set for 'tremendous growth' in marine tourism, predicted international marine tourism experts here Saturday.
'For a proper growth in marine tourism, the need of the hour is providing for basic infrastructure. Cumbersome customs formalities should be reduced,' said Toby Allies, director of international development with the British Marine Federation.
'The 2,000-km waterway in Kerala is a huge plus point,' he added at a seminar on marine tourism here during the fifth edition of the India International Boat Show (IIBS).
Allies said education and training have to be taken up to boost marine tourism, which includes cruise ships, marine eco tourism, sailing competitions, diving, mega yachts, powerboats and game fishing.
Y.P. Loke, secretary of the International Council of Marine Industry Association, said that the sector offered huge employment potential.
'Hotels and resorts should play a key role for this sector because waterfront, marina development and a cruise terminal are key requirements. Boat-shows are a must,' he added.
Loke said leading players in the sector are the Caribbean, Great Barrier Reef, Australia and Phuket in Thailand.
The expert suggestions come at a time when state Tourism Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has assured that all efforts would be made to re-launch the waterways.
IIBS is a business exhibition show with special segments in leisure boating, marine equipment, marine engines, navigational and telecommunication aids.
There are 65 exhibitors at this year's show, including global boating brands like Bayliner, Trophy, Ferretti, Walker Bay and Regal as well as marine equipment market leaders like Garmin, Lalizas, Plastimo, Vetus and Volvo Penta.
Indian participants include boat builders Praga Marine, Seaspray Aluminium Boats, Hunter Marine, Aries Marine and Alcock Ashdown. There are also 25 boat builders from Kerala as well as 400 buyers from India and abroad.
George Muthoot of Muthoot Papachen group, a leading player in the tourism industry, said a lot of reputed players were here this year.
'We are setting up a new aqua spa in a 10-acre waterfront here,' he told IANS.