Union Minister Sarbananda Sonwal on Saturday said the government has constituted a high-level committee to create a viable eco-system for the development of cruise tourism in the country.
The committee includes government officials and players from the cruise industry.
Sonwal inaugurated the first two-day international cruise conference held here on Saturday.
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the event, the minister said the government’s goal is to make India the most attractive cruise tourist destination and industry in the world.
The Minister for Ports, Shipping and Shipping further said that the government has constituted a task force under the Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and has made the Secretary of Shipping Vice-Chairman.
He said the high-level committee would assist the task force with its ideas and suggestions.
“I am announcing the formation of a high-level committee comprising government officials and national and international industry players. It will help the task force and provide ideas and advice, ”Sonwal told reporters.
Stressing on the objective of the international conference to make India a cruise tourism hub, the minister said the government would provide whatever modern infrastructure would be required to achieve the goal.
He hopes state governments will also play their part in promoting the industry, which is returning to demand after being hit by the epidemic.
“India is going to be the most attractive destination for cruise tourism, and there is no doubt that the potential we have in coastal areas and inland waterways will now be explored. It is still unnecessary. So, we will explore it with our most modern infrastructure, ”said Sonwal
India’s goal is to increase cruise passenger traffic from the current 0.4 million to 4 million. The economic potential of cruise tourism is expected to increase from USD 110 million to USD 5.5 billion in the coming years, according to an official release.
To boost the country’s cruise tourism industry, the government has taken a number of initiatives, including infrastructural development, rationalization of port fees, removal of expulsion charges, provision of priority berthing on cruise ships and provision of e-visa facility. Release added.
The country’s seven major ports are being upgraded and modernized, including the flagship New International Cruise Terminal at a total cost of about Rs 495 crore.
Sonwal emphasized that the Indian cruise market is expected to grow 10 times in the next decade, driven by growing demand and disposable income.
“The government realizes this potential and is committed to positioning India as a global cruise hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure for cruise for both sea and river,” he said.
BPX-Indira Dock is coming up with Sea Cruise Terminal, expected to be launched by July 2024. It will have the capacity to handle 200 ships and 1 million passengers per year Similar infrastructure is being upgraded in Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam and Kolkata.
Earlier, Sonwal along with his deputy Shripad Naik laid the foundation stone of the third chemical berth at Pir Pau Jetty and inaugurated the Kelshi Lighthouse in the remote Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
“The four themed coastal destination circuits, such as Gujarat Pilgrimage, West Coast – Cultural and Natural Travel, South Coast – Ayurvedic Wellness Travel and East Coast – are designed to activate the demand for traditional tourist cruises,” Naik said while addressing the conference. . .
“Lighthouses and islands are also being developed to attract coastal tourists while river cruise or inland cruise is another potential component of cruise tourism that can be explored,” he added.