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`Kochi is an ideal location for marina'

By Our Staff Reporter

KOCHI, OCT. 9. Kochi will become the tourist gateway to the rest of India once the proposed marina project gets ready, Gulshan Rai, Arjuna award winner, has said.

A former Joint Commissioner of Customs and former Commodore of the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Mr. Rai is recipient of the Padma Sree honour, for sailing around the world in a yacht. He has authored many books on boating.

Talking to The Hindu at the venue of the India International Boat Show here today, he said that Kochi was strategically the best place for a marina, as compared to Mumbai or even Colombo. "Boating activity has shifted to Galle owing to the terrorist threat in Colombo. The Kochi marina will be the first one in the country, with a capacity to anchor 60 luxury yachts at a time."

Winds favour Kochi

"Kochi is located in the ship route between Britain and Australia where there is heavy traffic of pleasure yachts but no good marina. The winds also favour a marina at Kochi, where seafarers in yachts can call at. Even without a marina, Kochi has been attracting over two dozen yachts in tourist season. Kochi has a laidback culture as compared to the metros and this will benefit the marina. Once it comes up, luxury yachts can be moored here for a few months, when the visitors can check out exotic locales in the rest of India. This will give a boost to tourism in the country. The marina will also help allied activities like boat-making and repairing," he said.

"Only if there is a marina culture would yachting catch up among sea lovers. Leisure boating and water sports will catch up if there is a marina. Sans a marina, it will be like having cars but no parking space. In the developed world, people mature from having a house to a car and then a boat. But in India, rich people spend so much money on luxuries but not a boat. Being a very healthy and challenging sport, it will lure youth from the monotony of their homes or sitting before the computer. The rich of Mumbai are sure to come down in private yachts to Kochi once the marina comes up."

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