Cruise Tourism in India has potential to grow 10-fold: Sarbananda Sonowal

Sarbananda Sonowal has asserted that the Indian cruise market has the potential to grow 10 folds over the next decade, driven by rising demand
Cruise Tourism in India has potential to grow 10-fold Sarbananda Sonowal
Cruise Tourism in India has potential to grow 10-fold Sarbananda Sonowal

New Delhi: Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has asserted that the 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," he said after inaugurating the 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 in Mumbai on Saturday.

Stating that India is a magnificent cruise destination, Sonowal 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 the right infrastructure and adoption of modern technology, India will certainly become one of the top tourism destinations in the world.

Advisory Panel being set up to help the Task Force on Cruise Tourism

Sonowal stated that the government has set up a Task Force headed by the Secretary of Tourism and Secretary of Shipping for the development of cruise tourism. The Minister on Saturday 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 the 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 Shri 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 Ministry of Ports, Shipping & 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.

Secretary Port and Shipping Sanjiv Ranjan said that the post-pandemic tourism sector in India is growing with resurgence and cruise tourism has registered a 35 percent year-on-year growth. He said the Government of India has prepared the Maritime Vision Document 2030 with focus on heritage Tourism, Ayurveda Tourism, Coastal Tourism, River cruise tourism etc. He said new business opportunities for global cruise liners as well as start-ups were discussed in detail at the stakeholders meeting in the morning.

Government of India initiatives

India aims to increase cruise passenger traffic from 0.4 million at present to 4 million. The economic potential of Cruise tourism is expected to go up from USD 110 mn to USD 5.5 bn in the years to come. In order to boost the cruise tourism industry in the country, the government has taken several initiatives including infrastructure up-gradation, rationalisation of port fees, removing ousting charges, granting priority berthing to cruise ships, providing e-visa facilities etc.

Upgradation and modernisation are being carried out at seven major ports in the country including the flagship New International Cruise terminal coming up in Mumbai with a total cost about Rs 495 crores. The iconic sea cruise terminal coming up at BPX-Indira Dock, is expected to be commissioned by July 2024. The terminal will have a capacity of handling 200 ships and 1 million passengers per annum. Similar infrastructure up-gradation is taking place in Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata. '

Lays Foundation Stone for Mumbai Port Authority's 3rd Chemical Berth at Pir Pau

At the inaugural session, Union Minister Sonowal and Naik laid the foundation stone for the third Chemical Berth at Pir Pau Jetty of Mumbai Port Authority to handle chemicals including LPG. The berth will have a rated capacity of 2 mtpa and cater to very large gas carriers and tankers up to 72,500 displacement tonnage.  It will be equipped with latest safety standards under OISD norms.

Inauguration of Kelshi Lighthouse in Ratnagiri district

Kelshi Lighthouse in Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra was also remotely inaugurated at the conference. The new lighthouse bridges the 85 km gap between Nanwell Point Lighthouse in Raigad District and Tolkeshwar Lighthouse in Ratnagiri District ensuring the safety of the local fishermen community day and night.

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