Kochi, India Meeting Planning Overview
Known for its beaches, Kochi (often still called Cochin) attracts visitors from all over the world and is fast becoming a sought-after events destination. No wonder: This historical port city has been a host to traders for over 600 years. Kochi event venues are set amid a braid of canals and lagoons, and such attractions as bustling spice markets, a 16th-century Jewish synagogue, and a Portuguese palace attest to international influences. It is believed Saint Thomas had prayed at the Malayatoor Church (which groups can reach, following a steep hill climb).
Cochin International Airport (India's only fully private airport) is well connected by international flights to Gulf countries. Efforts are under way to start direct flights to Europe and the U.S., courtesy of its new, three-storied international terminal.
The Cochin International Airport Trade Fair Centre, which debuted in June 2012, is among the largest venues in Kochi not connected to a hotel. Spread across five acres, it has a total area of 43,000 square feet, with 30,000 square feet reserved for exhibition space. However, the largest event venue in Kochi can be found at the 223-room Le Meridien Kochi: 14 conference, banqueting, and event venues that accommodate up to 2,500, with 52,000 square feet of indoor space. Kochi's newest hotel, Dream Cochin, is nestled along the shores of the Arabian Sea; launched by U.S. hotelier Vikram Chatwal, Dream is suited for events of up to 650 guests that can be accommodated in its 6,098-square-foot convention center.
Excursions from Cochin are a visual delight. Kochi is the starting point to the wildlife sanctuaries of Eravikulam National Park and Periyar National Park and is the gateway for a tour around Kerala (South India), a region that is known as "God's Own Country." Alappuzha (known as Alleppey), for instance, owes its beauty and popularity to the exotic backwaters and is home to rare species of migratory birds.