Port Wings, 24 Oct 2018:
Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on 20 October inaugurated the new domestic cruise terminal in Mumbai Port and also flagged off the much-awaited Mumbai-Goa cruise service.
The domestic cruise sector badly needs the government support and of course patronage from Indians who until now prefers to sail on international cruiseliners to fulfill their lifetime dream of cruise on sea.
It may be noted that India Cruise Lines Association, the association of cruise lines in India, had in August presented a White Paper titled ‘Recommendations for the Indian Cruise Industry’ to Nitin Gadkari and made their intention loud and clear.
Gadkari also opined that with a potential of one crore tourists, cruise tourism has a big scope in India and can become an economically viable and profitable sector.
India has been aggressively developing the potential of its rivers and seas and it has received interest from foreign players to set up manufacturing of hovercrafts, seaplanes among others in the country.
INCLA has been formed by leading cruise liners and other stakeholders from around the world with the objective of creating a roadmap for the development of the cruise sector in India and also to highlight various issues being faced by the Indian cruise industry, reforms required to address the said issues and to ensure that reforms are implemented effectively at ground level.
According to Shipping Ministry, there are been a strategic shift in the recent months in thinking regarding utilisation of ports in India. And cruise tourism is in a way transformation of idle berths into hustle-bustle place for cruise tourists.
To move ahead, the Government started working with five major ports — Mumbai, Goa, New Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai – and unveiled roadmap to make them the important ports for domestic cruise services.
There is a viability of domestic and international cruise tourism originating from India, and the government needs to channelize the need into proper way so that it could become a new industry and give jobs to lakhs of Indians onboard as well as on shore.
The opportunity is huge and the market is hungry for cruise tourism. Now, it is upto the Indian government to show some concrete vision to promote the marine economy. A few years back, Chennai-based AMET University launched AMET Cruises, and due to red-tape, it wound up and failed as a new initiative. INCLA would be very happy to collaborate with government and stakeholders to address grey areas and remove apprehensions among the industry players to invest in cruise tourism market. Now, the Government needs to walk the talk on supporting and boosting cruise tourism in the country.