Government tweaks policy to boost cruise tourism

Government tweaks policy to boost cruise tourism

Now you don’t need to fly to Singapore or Dubai for a trip in a luxury cruise. A major luxury cruise ship of Europe docked in Mumbai last week, marking the beginning of seven cruises from the maximum city. To give a fillip to this industry, shipping ministry is now identifying five cruise circuits each for international, domestic and river that can be developed immediately. This is a part of the government’s ambitious Rs. 12 lakh crore Sagarmala project.
Government sources said the cruise circuits could be India-Sri Lanka-Maldives-Seychelles, India-Dubai, India-Singapore and India-Maldives. Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said Mumbai alone will see the arrival of 100 cruises, Goa, Cochin and Mangaluru will have 60 each and 11 more will dock in Chennai.
“We brought several reforms and will take more to promote cruise tourism even in major rivers such as Ganga. Under Sagarmala, we will pump around Rs. 8 lakh crore for developing industrial clusters and another Rs. 4 lakh crore for port-rail and port-road connectivity, mechanisation and modernisation of ports,” Gadkari said.
More than 100 cruise ships usually reach five major Indian ports every year. “But they stop here to board and de-board passengers. Our target is to ensure they spend more time here and passengers visit cities, which will push local economic activities,” said a shipping ministry official.
Though some global cruises had few sailings in India in 2007 and 2009, and made Indian ports at their “home port”, none of them lasted longer. Inadequate infrastructure and no clear cruise policy were the major reasons for this. “Home port” is the one where a ship takes on/ change over the majority of its passengers.
The government in past two years has made several changes such as providing certainty of berth, priority to cruise ships over cargo ships, 40% discount in port charges and new standard operating procedures for ease of business for immigration, health, customs and security of port in Mumbai.


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