New cruise venture taps Indian market opportunity

The growing Indian tourism sector has proven an opportunity for new venture Louis Cruises India.  The subsidiary of Louis Cruises was officially launched in India on the 19th of September 2009.  MV Aquamarine, a 1,200 passenger capacity cruise vessel will cruise from its homeport in Kochi (colonial name Cochin).  The vibrant city situated on the south-west coast of the Indian peninsula is located in the scenic and prosperous state of Kerala, hailed as "God's Own Country."

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Kochi currently receives 6 million domestic and .5 million internationational tourists annually with a 15% growth rate.  Its proximity to the equator, the sea and the mountains provide a moderate equatorial climate.  Its historic blend of Arab, British, Chinese, Dutch and Portuguese influences provide a rich cultural setting.

According to Mr. Oneil Khosa, CEO & MD of Louis Cruises India "exotic voyages to Maldives and Colombo are generating a large interest."  The product offering will be a fusion between Western and Indian themes - in entertainment,  food and service.  As a part of the launch, Kerala Tourism has signed an exclusive deal with Louis Cruises India wherein both parties will engage in joint marketing efforts for promoting Louis Cruises India. These include an inaugural sailing in Mumbai (Bombay) with media guests and Bollywood tie-ins.

Aquamarine will be conducting Kochi-Maldives-Kochi and Kochi-Colombo-Kochi cruises with overnight stays at both the destinations. The cruises have been specially designed to allow guests the flexibility for either 3-night or a 7-night cruises.

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Mr. Khosa previously served DVB Bank as a cruise industry focused financier. DVB Bank has been active in the cruise industry M & A activities apart from conventional asset lending. Before joining DVB, Mr. Khosa was employed as a First Officer with Royal Caribbean Cruises Lines.