Since, there are wide differences among the available houseboats, Kerala State Tourism Department has classified them into different categories, like deluxe, economy type, etc.
Government is watching the scene and taking steps to regulate the operations of houseboat companies to ensure safety, security and fair dealings.
State government has prescribed certain norms for houseboats to be used in the tourism sector. The houseboat industry had an uncontrolled growth in the initial phase with no standards and regulations. As backwater tourism developed as a result of the increase in the number of tourists to Kerala, norms were stipulated by the government for the safety and comfort of the tourists.
In order to prevent unscrupulous elements trying to make easy money by deceiving tourists, Kerala state govt. has made it mandatory for houseboat operators to get license. The crew on houseboats also should have license. Houseboats are inspected by a govt. agency to check conformity to rules and norms. Those houseboats, which do not comply with the stipulations and violate norms are seized. Fines are imposed for minor violations.
As houseboat tourism is a new development in Kerala, tariff regulations were absent in the initial phase. Each operator charged differently. During certain seasons, rates go high depending on demand. Absence of tariff regulation for houseboats may lead to fleecing of tourists by operators. So the state government has been issuing guidelines and stipulations regarding tariff. As different boats offer different facilities and luxuries, uniformity of tariff is not possible. Large, professionally managed houseboat companies have to quote rates to tour operators in advance. And they are not allowed to hike charges unreasonably according to day-to-day situation.