Taking a cue from Kerala, West Bengal is now focusing on developing coastal and river tourism circuit by introducing houseboats in Kolkata, Sundarbans and creeks near Digha.
State Tourism department officials said they have recently awarded tender to a Kerala based private company to build seven houseboats for them.“We want it like Kerala. We will have one houseboat plying along the Ganges in Kolkata, two-three in Sundarbans and three-four in the creeks between Tajpur and Mandarmani near Digha,” A R Bardhan, principal secretary, West Bengal Tourism Department, told PTI.
It is for the first time that the tourism department is introducing houseboats in the state.
“We have lot of potential in river-based tourism and in the coastal circuit. We have a budget of about Rs 83 crore for developing the circuit,” Bardhan said.
The air-conditioned houseboats, costing Rs 1.2 crore each, will have three rooms with all facilities like a kitchen, a common drawing room, etc.
“It will be like a hotel. The boat will do a cruise in the rivers, but will be anchored in one place. In Kolkata, tourists will get a good view of the city from the banks of the Ganges. You also get very good views of the Howrah Bridge and Vidyasagar Setu from the river,” the official said.
It is expected that the houseboats will be ready in the next six months and be made available for tourists by the end of the year.