The Tourism Ministry of India is keen on promoting cruise tourism in the country. A project to attract travellers to explore our seas is being planned by the ministry. Providing ease of access with e-visas for travellers at these ports, soon tourists from other countries will be invited in by well-developed seaports in prominent cities like Mumbai, Kochi and Chennai.
The idea was put across to the Ministry of External Affairs by the Tourism Ministry of India to clear the idea, but the MEA is not keen on it and decided the idea needs development as not all ports in India are equipped to handle that kind of tourist influx. They brought up the fact that the ports would need much better infrastructure and the Bureau of Immigration and CISF would need to man these ports.
7400 KMs of southern Indian coastline remains undeveloped. There are 185 minor and private ports in India and 13 major ones – out of these only a 61 ports in total function all through the year.Traditional visas are currently allowed to tourists arriving into the 21 ports of Alang, Bhavnagar, Calicut, Chennai, Cochin, Cuddalore, Kakinada, Kandla, Kolkata, Mandvi, Mangalore, Marmagoa, Morech, Mumbai, Nagapattinam, Nhava Sheva, Paradeep, Porbandar, Port Blair, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam and more. Despite that, the number of tourists arriving through these ports are negligible due to lack of infrastructure.
The Ministry of Tourism is expecting a rise in the number of tourists this year from the 80 lakh tourists that arrived last year, at least over 90 lakh tourists are expected this year. India registered 4,45,300 arrivals through e-visa in 2015, this year the number of arrivals reached 6,06,493 by August. Mumbai’s first cruise ship will set sail in December and will travel to Mangalore, Cochin and the Maldives. The theme of the ship is based on Bollywood and cricket.
Focusing on developing the ports will only serve as a boon for the tourism industry.