Celebrating the success of its maiden cruise lines venture at the Mumbai Port, the Ministry of shipping is planning to extend this tourism initiative to other destinations around the country and is also trying to streamline seamless travel and improve immigration facilities at major ports; encouraging the luxury liners to choose their home ports in India.
This fast growing component of leisure industry has the potential to earn huge amounts of foreign exchange by providing the right policy environment and infrastructure to cater the growth of cruise shipping and tourism.
However, India has seen a decline in its cruise traffic over the last five years on the account of inadequate infrastructure and low operational activities on the Indian Coast. The Ministry of shipping has appointed B.K. Associates as consultants which is most likely to submit its proposal on the subject by May end. Adding to this a task force under the chairmanship of Secretary(tourism) with Secretary(shipping) as Co-chairman have been constituted in order to promote cruise tourism in the country.
In order to streamline the operations and facilitate the tourism department the government has allowed foreign flag vessels carrying passengers to call at the ports of India. The standard operating procedures for cruise vessels have been finalized in consultation to address manpower, coordination and logistics for handling cruise vessels. The government is to offer minimum 30% rebate on port charges for cruise vessels and not levy any shifting charges. Along with that the government would also provide additional rebate of 25% for coastal cruise.
As of now only 7 voyages have been confirmed once in every fortnight with the 1st voyage being completed on 22 December,2016. There are 12 major ports in the country where in the cruise lines is most likely to be extended, they are Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, VO Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata.