Kochi, Oct 22 (IANS) A spacious air-conditioned houseboat that can host large conventions is attracting buyers at the Fifth India International Boat Show (IIBS) that concludes here Sunday.
The Jala Samrat, a double-storied houseboat being touted as 'Convention Castle', has a conference hall on the first floor that can seat 150 people.
The Rs.7 million houseboat, which combines the traditional with the modern, is to be officially launched later this month.
Built by the Alappuzha-based Pulickattil Tourism Group, the lower floor of the boat has three bedrooms with attached toilets and a lobby. The owners claim it is the first such in the country,
'This is a fully air-conditioned houseboat fitted with state-of-the-art audio, visual and telecommunication facilities,' Tomy Pulickattil, the proud owner of the moving convention castle, told IANS.
The tariff has been tentatively fixed at Rs.750 per passenger.
'The houseboat has been built from a single 1,350 cubic feet anjili tree. It took us nearly nine months to complete it,' he said.
Parked at the waterfront, the convention castle has become a huge hit at the show beating even the latest sophisticated modern boats.
'We have got many inquires from leading companies who are keen to host their meetings on it. Many buyers at the boat show have evinced interest for a similar boat to be built by us,' said Pulickattil.
The Pulickattil Group has also built exclusive ayurveda houseboats, where people are administered the traditional herbal health treatment as the boat moves through the beautiful Kerala back waters.
There is a houseboat run only by women and also houseboats with around five bedrooms.
The IIBS business exhibition show has special segments on leisure boating, marine equipment, marine engines, navigational and telecommunication aids.
This year's show has 65 exhibitors, 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 25 boat builders from Kerala and around 400 buyers from India and abroad.