MUMBAI, MAY 14, 2022
Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has asserted that Indian cruise market has the potential to grow 10 folds over the next decade, driven by rising demand and disposable incomes.
“The government of India realizes this potential and is determined to position India as a global cruise hub with state-of-art infrastructure for both ocean and river cruises”, Sonowal said after inaugurating the 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 in Mumbai today.
Stating that India is a magnificent cruise destination, the Minister said several attractions of India along its 7,500 km long coastline and vast river systems are yet to be unveiled to the world. He said the global players have evinced a keen interest in promoting cruise tourism in India, and with the development of right infrastructure and adoption of modern technology, India will certainly become one of the top tourism destinations in the world.
Sonowal stated that the Government has set up a Task Force headed by the Secretary, Tourism and Secretary, Shipping for development of cruise tourism. The Minister today announced the setting up of a high level Advisory Committee, comprising national and international experts, to help the Task Force in creating an enabling eco-system for development of cruise tourism in the country.
Invoking Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sonowal said ‘Transformation is possible through transportation and for that we need to leverage technology’. Emphasising on the importance of Ports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Port led development can help in developing a comprehensive eco-system of transport and tourism especially in terms of cruise tourism.
Elaborating the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Minister of State, Shripad Naik said ‘Four theme based coastal destination circuits such as Gujarat Pilgrimage tours, West Coast – Cultural and scenic tours, South Coast – Ayurvedic wellness tours and East Coast – Heritage tourism have been developed to activate cruise demand. ‘Lighthouse and Island development is also being undertaken to attract Coastal tourists’ he added. He further said River cruise or Inland cruise is another potential component of cruise tourism that could be explored.
Shipping Secretary Sanjiv Ranjan said that post-pandemic, the country’s tourism sector is growing with resurgence and cruise tourism alone has notched a 35 percent y-o-y growth, and now a Maritime Vision Document-2030 is ready and focussing on various aspects of cruise tours.
India aims at increasing cruise passenger traffic from 400,000 to 40,00,000 and its economic potential is slated to shoot up from $110 million to $5.5 billion in the coming years.
The government has taken several initiatives including infrastructure upgradation, rationalisation of port fees, removing ousting charges, granting priority berthing to cruise ships, providing e-visa facilities etc, to boost cruise tourism.
Upgradation and modernisation is going on at 7 major ports like Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, and Kolkata besides the flagship New International Cruise Terminal coming up in Mumbai at a cost of Rs 495 crore, which is likely to be ready in next 25 months (July 2024), with a capacity to handle 200 ships and 10-lakh passengers annually.
Over 300 delegates comprising Indian and international stakeholders, investors, government officials and experts are attending the two-day conference.