The Indian cruise market has the potential to multiply by 10 over the next decade, said Saturday the Minister of the Union of ports, navigation and waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, during the inauguration of the first Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 in Mumbai.
The reason for this, explained Sonowal, “The Indian cruise market has the potential to grow 10 times over the next decade, driven by rising demand and disposable incomes. The Indian government is realizing this potential and is determined to position India as a global cruise hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure for ocean and river cruises.”
Stating that India is a wonderful cruise destination, the minister said several attractions of India along its long coastline of 7,500 km and vast river systems are not yet unveiled the world. He said that global players have shown keen interest in promoting cruise tourism in India, and with the development of appropriate infrastructure and the adoption of modern technology, India will certainly become a major tourist destinations in the world.
Sonowal said the government has set up a task force led by the tourism secretary and the shipping secretary for the development of cruise tourism. The Minister announced the establishment of an advisory committee of high-level, consisting of national and international experts, to help the working group to create an ecosystem conducive to the development of cruise tourism in the country. “Transformation is possible through transportation and for that we need to leverage technology,” he said.
Noting the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Minister of State Shripad Naik said, “Four themed tours of coastal destinations such as Gujarat pilgrimage tours, West Coast – Cultural and Scenic Tours, South Coast – Ayurvedic Wellness Tours and East Coast – Heritage tourism has been developed to drive demand for cruises Development of lighthouses and islands is also underway to attract coastal tourists .
He added that river cruising or inland cruising is another potential component of cruise tourism that could be explored.
India aims to increase cruise passenger traffic from the current 0.4 million to 4 million. The economic potential of cruise tourism is expected to grow from $110 million to $5.5 billion in the coming years. In order to stimulate the cruise tourism industry in the country, the Center has taken several initiatives, including upgrading infrastructure, streamlining port charges, abolishing eviction fees, granting priority berthage to cruise ships, provision of e-visa facilities, etc., the Ports Department said. , navigation and waterways.
Upgradation and modernization are underway at seven major ports in the country, including the upcoming new flagship international cruise terminal in Mumbai with a total cost of approx. ₹495 million rupees. The upcoming iconic offshore cruise terminal BPX-Indira Dock is expected to be commissioned in July 2024. The terminal will have a capacity to handle 200 ships and 1 million passengers per year. Similar infrastructure upgrading is underway in Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata.
The first Incredible India International Cruise Conference was organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. Strategies to develop India as a cruise hub, policy initiatives and port infrastructure, the potential for river cruise tourism and the role of technology in the post-pandemic world are some of the key issues debated. during the two-day event.
Over 300 delegates representing stakeholders including international and Indian cruise operators, investors, industry experts and consultants, senior officials from central and state governments, ports, shipping and board offices tourism, attend the conference.
(With contributions for agencies)