Muziris to be role model for two more heritage tourism projects
The Kerala state government’s prestigious Muziris Heritage Project will be the role model for two more heritage tourism projects at Alappuzha and Thalassery.
Speaking exclusively to Express TravelWorld, P M Noushad, managing director, Muziris Projects, informed, “The Kerala state government is working on two more heritage tourism projects at Alappuzha and Thalassery. Muziris will be the role model for these new projects. In 2016, the finance minister and chief minister of Kerala wrote to UNESCO for listing the Spice Route Project. The 31 countries which were part of the Spice Route such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, Oman, the GCC countries among others, have shown keen interest to contribute to the project, both in terms of investment as well as documentation. So on June 15 and 16, ambassadors from at least 15 of these countries along with some of their scholars will converge for a one day discussion in Kochi to study the Muziris and Alappuzha projects. Based on these discussions, we will organise an international conference in January 2019.”
Muziris Projects is fully owned by the Government of India to spearhead Kerala’s greenfield project in heritage tourism. The project timeline is 10 years. Commenting on the investment so far in India’s largest heritage tourism project, Noushad stated, “The INR 42.5 crore allocation by Government of India has been fully used and state government has made an additional investment of INR 100 crore. The project hopes to break even by 2022/23. The revenue sources include the 12 boat jetties, the restaurants and the international convention centre at Kodungallur – Muziris International Research and Convention Centre – which can accommodate 1200 pax and has state-of-the-art facilities. From January to April this year we have already earned INR 26 lakh (INR 12 lakh from the convention centre).”
When complete, there will be a total of 29 museums and heritage sites in the Muziris project. Presently, six museums and three heritage sites have been opened to the public. After the first phase was opened to the public, there was a delay in completing the second phase. Denying this, Noushad said, “There has been no delay as such. Being a government project some delays are expected. The second phase has already opened.”
Commenting on how the project has benefited the local community and the trickle down effect of Muziris, he added, “We employ a lot of local labour so there is direct employment. The local community is also benefited from tourism infrastructure development like roads, street lights, toilet blocks, boat jetties (which locals can also use for their daily commutes), etc. At present we own 11 air conditioned boats and the charges are very nominal. There has been a lot of tourist footfall. Every month since January this year, around 650 foreign tourists have visited the synagogues in the area (six out of the three main synagogues are part of the Muziris Project).
Outlining the future roadmap for the Muziris Project, Noushad informed, “We have acquired land near Pattanam for a Maritime Museum which will be of international standards and the 31 countries along the Spice Route have shown interest in contributing to the project both in investment and in data collection. The state government has allocated INR 40 crore for heritage projects this financial year and a major share of this will go towards the Spice Route and Muziris Projects.”