Cruise industry set to make a splash as major cruise liners gear up to set sail in Indian waters this season | India News

NEW DELHI: Betting big on the growing possibilities of cruise tourism in India, Union minister G Kishan Reddy said on Monday Indian cruise tourism opens a window to history itself, with every city showing India’s rich diversity of languages, customs, lifestyles and vegetations.
The minister’s assertion, made on the sidelines of the G20 Tourism Working Group meeting in Goa, came within hours of an announcement by Italian luxury cruise liner Costa Cruise, that it would launch a new cruise programme exclusively for India between November 4 and January 1, 2024, from Mumbai to Goa, Cochin and, for the first time, Lakshadweep.
Apart from Costa, to tap into India’s domestic tourism potential, MSC Cruises, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean Cruise will also bring their respective vessels in India for the winter season this year.
“There has been a big market in India for cruise tourism. Now, with the PM’s directives and push to cruise tourism, we find that things have moved fast and well. I am certain that our two-month schedule will be keenly watched and there will be more cruises sailing in the Indian waters from next year,” Nalini Gupta, managing director, Costa Cruise India, told TOI.
Costa Serena, the cruise vessel with a capacity of 3700 passengers, will be the first international cruise liner to dock for the day at Lakshadweep’s Agatti island.
Reddy, meanwhile, laid out the work done by the government in building port infrastructure, which he said resulted in an increase in cruise passenger traffic in India from 1.26 lakhs in 2015-16 to 4.68 lakhs in 2019-2020, and the number of cruise vessels from 128 to 451 in the same period.
India’s cruise industry aims to increase the number of passengers from 20,000 in 2016 to 40 lakh by 2041. The projected revenue for the industry in the same year is pegged at Rs 35,000 crore.
Underlining the government’s efforts to encourage cruise tourism in India, he also said the government has taken several measures to support the tourism infrastructure that include developing ports and cruise terminals, light-houses, and development of river cruise circuits. Apart from upgrading and modernising existing ports, Reddy said the government has rationalised port fee, removed ousting charges, granted priority berthing to cruise ships, and provided e-visa facilities to promote cruise tourism in India.

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