Kottayam: A new project which aims to tap the tourism potential of the streams and canals leading to the Vembanad Lake is ready for implementation. The first initiative under the project – a water sports centre – will be inaugurated at Vettikkad, near Thiruvarpu in Kottayam district, on November 15. The water sports centre will be implemented by the government jointly with a firm named Southern Boats. Around 200 boats of various categories will be available for tourists at the centre. Visitors to the centre can also engage in activities such as kayaking and paragliding. Another plan is to set up a boat-building yard at the centre.
The project has also suggested measures to utilize the popularity of places such as Malarikkal, where the pink water lilies bloom, to promote tourism. Some boatmen at Malarikkal have earned around Rs one lakh during the two-month-long water lily season. Other initiatives under the project will be similarly planned so that they benefit the local people.
With the Lulu Mall scheduled to open soon, more people are expected to reach Kottayam. It is planned to attract these visitors to the water sports centre. Kodimatha in Kottayam town is 2 km from the Vembanad Lake through water. Tourism opportunities in this regard also will be explored.
Meanwhile, the authorities are awaiting environmental clearance for its Puzhukkanila Lake Development Project to start work. The Puzhukkanila project envisages the linking of the Meenachil, Meenanthara and Kodoor rivers. Two restaurants have also been opened at Malarikkal. Facilities will also be arranged to enjoy the sight of the water lilies at night.