Story #1: India's yachting industry sets sail
India is not a country known for its boating culture, but that is soon to change, with the opening of South Asia's first marina in the southern Indian city of Kochi (Cochin).
As the boating market stagnates in the West, players are increasingly looking towards south and southeast Asia. The new marina in Kochi is set to put India firmly on the charts of the international ocean-going community.
Worth around $US3 million, the marina will eventually have 50 slips and a clubhouse and opened in late April.
Ocean Blue, The company building the marina, will also manage it and is hoping to capitalise on knowledge gained during the process to build marinas elsewhere in the country.
"All marinas will have to have some sort of government intervention," says Ocean Blue’s founding director Malav Shroff.
"The first one is the toughest as we don't know the exact government permissions needed. Once we complete it we'll know what regulations exist and what permissions. It's a huge advantage to be doing the first one," says the one-time Olympic sailor.
Ocean Blue is now angling to build 15 more marinas - in Goa, Chennai, near Mumbai, the Andaman Islands and the Lakshadweep islands among others - in the next five years, although no formal agreements have yet been reached.
- India's total coastline is 7,000 kilometres long. Counting inland lakes, there's around 25,000 kilomentre for boats.
- There are approximately 85,000 dollar millionaires in India, according to a 2009 Merrill Lynch/Cap Gemini report. That's a lot of potential boat buyers.
- The boating market is expected to grow to a billion dollars in India over the next five years.
- In some parts, speedboats and jetskis are used as a mode of transport, such as Mumbai-dwellers travelling to holiday homes in Alibaug, a resort town south of the megacity.