December 27, 2023: In a groundbreaking development, Thiruvananthapuram has unveiled its first floating bridge at Papanasam beach, setting the stage for a tourism boost in the region. Tourism Minister PA Mohammed Riyas revealed plans for constructing similar bridges across districts with beaches, with the aim of unlocking the potential of water sports in Kerala.
The inaugural floating bridge, located at Varkala Papanasam in Thiruvananthapuram district, is the first step in realizing this visionary plan. Minister Riyas is determined to popularize beach tourism in Kerala, emphasizing that the project aims to provide locals and tourists with accessible water sports experiences, reducing the need to travel to destinations like Goa and Thailand.
Scheduled for implementation in 2024, the master plan for tourism development in Varkala includes ambitions to elevate it to an international destination. The floating bridge is hailed as a pivotal element in Varkala’s tourism development strategy.
A collaborative effort involving the Thiruvananthapuram District Tourism Promotion Council, the Department of Tourism, Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society, and Varkala Municipality brought the floating bridge to fruition. Stretching 100 meters in length and 3 meters in width, the bridge boasts a viewing platform measuring 11 meters by 7 meters at its tail end, accommodating up to 300 visitors simultaneously. Operating hours are fixed from 11 AM to 6 PM.
Ensuring visitor safety, the floating bridge is equipped with safety boats, life jackets, and vigilant lifeguards, including local fishermen. Constructed from approximately 1,400 high-quality plastic blocks, the bridge is situated in the sea. Water sports enthusiasts can indulge in activities such as banana boat rides, jet skiing, speed boating, jet attacks, and ATV rides.
For a delightful 20-minute experience on the floating bridge, visitors are required to pay an entry fee of Rs 120. The unveiling ceremony, presided over by MLA V Joy, witnessed the participation of key figures, including Varkala Municipality Chairman KM Laji, Block Panchayat President Smita Sundaresan, Vice Chairperson Kumari Sudarshini, Deputy Director of Tourism Rajeev GL, Binu Kuriakose, CEO of the Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society (KATPS), and DTPC Secretary Shyam Krishnan.
The collective effort to introduce the floating bridge promises not only a unique experience for tourists but also a significant contribution to the advancement of tourism in Varkala and nearby areas. This innovative initiative is set to redefine the landscape of beach tourism in Kerala, offering a blend of adventure, accessibility, and picturesque views.