Nithin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, said thatIndia is holding talks with Singapore to develop cruise tourism in the country. Cruise tourism infrastructure will be developed in Goa, Mumbai, Puthuchery, Chennai and Kochi.
“We are keen on promoting cruise tourism on a mega-scale in the country. Mumbai alone is expected to have 950 cruise vessels in the coming five years,” the minister said while addressing the delegation from ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in New Delhi in July.
“Around one lakh Indians visit Singapore every year for cruise tourism. We have large scope for developing cruise tourism in India, with our 7,500 kilometres of coastline and we think Singapore can play a key role in making it happen,” he said.
To market cruise tourism, India has relaxed the government policies and enticing global consultants.
Earlier, Gadkari said that a policy is under formulation to put India on the global map of cruise tourism. The government is expecting to generate around 2.5 lakh job opportunities, which in turn will contribute to the development of the country.
India has 12 major ports, of which Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, New Mangalore and Chennai have facilities to berth international cruise ships.
Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head – Holidays, MICE, Visa & Passport Services, Thomas Cook (India) Ltd, said, “At Thomas Cook India, we truly welcome the government’s initiative to promote cruise tourism (both ocean and river cruising) on a mega-scale in the country. Cruise tourism in the country will certainly expand the India market significantly and not just for the inbound segment, but equally the burgeoning domestic market. The new age of travel is all about experience and the protagonist traveller of today looks for “brag-worthy” experiences and cruising fits the bill perfectly. What is noteworthy is that unlike international markets, cruise demand in India is not restricted to the Gen S/Seniors segment, but sees strong uptake from millennials, DINKS, families and ad-hoc groups; corporate movement and MICE being powerful opportunities too.
Kale said that he strongly supports the government’s initiative of developing an action plan for cruise tourism and appreciate the Minister’s talks with ASEAN nations including Singapore to support the process. “India’s opening its coastline and waterways will certainly be a game-changer with a tremendous multiplier impact on the tourism landscape: expanding the tourism market for India, employment/job creation for cruise tourism and allied industries, as well as on foreign exchange receipts. This will be a strong boost for India’s tourism industry- cruising offering scope for a 3 pronged impact: Inbound, Domestic and equally for India as a hub for international cruises for short/long-haul destinations.”