Houseboat Industry of Kerala
Houseboat Industry of Kerala : Immense tourism opportunities have made houseboats into a whole new industry for Kerala. Just a decade after the first and innovative step was taken by a crative entrepreneur at Alumkadavu in Kollam district to convert a traditional cargo known as ‘Kettuvallam’ in a houseboat with all the facilities for the stay of tourists, the industry has rose constantly and have gained a significant repute. It is surprising to see the rapid multiplication of the houseboats from two in the early 90’s to about 200 now. The houseboats have also expanded in size and luxurious opulence and large houseboats with several rooms are rapidly replacing the smaller single-room ones. Most of the houseboats today are air-conditioned and solar panels are being used for lighting. Alappuzha has emerged as a major hub of thehouseboat industry and has the largest share of houseboats. Since the growth of the industry, an association by the name of Houseboat Owners Association has emerged to look after the welfare of the owners of these houseboats. The Vembanad Lake is said to have huge potential for the industry while the canals of Kuttanad are perfect venues for boating.
Times have changed from the days when the traditional boats being converted into houseboats to the present when very big ones are being specially built as houseboats. Instead of the poled houseboats of the earlier days, today they are fitted with engines, which have gone from being outboard to being inboard and mostly use diesel as fuel. Even the concept of rooms in the houseboats has undergone a revolutionary change over time and small dingy rooms have given way to spacious air-conditioned rooms comparable to the best of the hotel rooms in the state. Some of the houseboats have as many as five bedrooms and a few entrepreneurs have even innovated and experimented with very big houseboats with a conference hall having a seating capacity of 150 and several bedrooms for the business travelers who wish to combine the pleasures of Kerala with the work they have in hand. More than 500 people are already employed in this industry and the continuous rise foretells bright prospects fro the industry.