Cochin Port Trust to transform Willingdon Island into a tourism hub

With ferrying of hard cargo getting containerised and their shipment getting relocated to the container transshipment terminal at Vallarpadam, the Cochin Port Trust (CPT) would shortly engage a consultant to ready a master plan for transforming Willingdon Island into a tourism hub.

The idea is to ready a long-term master plan, based on which funds can be sought from the Ministry of Tourism and other departments concerned. Mumbai and Goa ports have already progressed much in this regard and have readied ambitious tourism plans, said M. Beena, Chairperson of CPT.

“The impending master plan will look into aspects like what needs to be done and what can be done to optimally use idling space on the island for tourism purpose. Small parcels of land have been let out on lease. A master plan will shed light on how best to develop vacant land that the port owns. Apart from the Ministry of Tourism, those which handle shipping and also culture could be roped in to help set up ventures to enliven vacant spaces on Willingdon Island and smaller tracts of land that the port owns in neighbouring islands and in mainland Ernakulam,” she said.

On the priority that would be accorded for different arenas of tourism, port sources said the consultants, to identify whom expression of interest has been invited, would take a call on this aspect. Even transportation of wood is getting containerised, while oil carrier vessels do not call at Willingdon Island. This has opened up space in the isle, they added.

Already, the port has earmarked land outside the cruise terminal to set up kiosks that sell curios and other items, near the cruise terminal on Willingdon Island. The pandemic has played spoilsport with cruise tourism, since over 50 cruise liners had called at Kochi in 2019-2020.