Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 29 September 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Aveda Resort: Indian hotel turns luxury pool into fish farm to keep business afloat

The Kerala resort hopes to sell its stock of pearl spot fish in the Middle East

A member of Aveda Resort's staff feeds fish in the swimming pool that has been turned into a farm. AFP
A member of Aveda Resort's staff feeds fish in the swimming pool that has been turned into a farm. AFP

A luxury resort in southern India has turned its swimming pool into a fish farm to stop the business sinking amid the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Normally, the 150-metre pool at the Aveda Resort and Spa in Kumarakom, Kerala, is packed with tourists. Now, thousands of pearl spot fish are causing a splash.

The complex was forced to shut in March when a nationwide coronavirus lockdown was ordered. Few hotels have been allowed to reopen since.

Of those which are still shuttered, not many boast a pool with 7.5 million litres of water, which can be put to alternative use.

In this picture taken on August 23, 2020, a general view of a swimming pool that has been turned into a fish farm is pictured at Aveda Resort in Kumarakom, in Kerala state. A luxury resort in southern India has turned its swimming pool into a fish farm to stop the business sinking amid the pandemic economic crisis. Normally the 150 metre (500 feet) long swimming pool at the Aveda Resort in Kerala state is packed with European tourists. Now thousands of pearl spot fish are causing the splash. / AFP / Arun CHANDRABOSE
Normally, the 150-metre pool at the resort is packed with tourists. AFP

"We have had zero revenue, so in June, we put around 16,000 two-month-old pearl spot fish in the pool," says Aveda's general manager, Jyotish Surendran.

The fish, which takes about eight months to reach full size, is a popular ingredient in dishes in southern India and the Middle East.

"We plan to harvest by November and will export to the Middle East," Surendran said, predicting about four tonnes of pearl spots growing in the swimming pool could be worth $40,000 (Dh146,900) on the market.

The makeshift farm would not cover the losses from the pandemic, which has driven many hotels to bankruptcy, said the hotel boss.

But Surendran was hopeful that the money would help cover basic bills so the business can keep running until tourists return.

And the Aveda plans to keep faith with the pearl spot even when business resumes.

"We can't continue with this farm in the pool, but we are trying to find alternative land where we can build up this knowledge for bigger projects," he said.

Updated: August 26, 2020 11:57 AM

THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
Sign up to our daily email
Most Read