The Ministry of Tourism in collaboration with Ministry of Shipping will prepare an action plan for development of cruise tourism in India. MOT intends to promote cruise shipping and tourism in a big way and will be an important element of the Incredible India 2.0 campaign. The Netherlands-based consultant Bermello Ajmali has prepared a report on cruise tourism in India, which has a low penetration rate in the sector. During the National Workshop on Cruise Tourism conducted by MOT and Ministry of Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping, Government of India, said, “The report prepared on cruise tourism by the foreign consultant will be discussed and the action plan will be ready in next 3-4 months. Next year is going to be very good for cruise tourism in India.” At present, India has a very small share in world cruise tourism market, as against 23 million passengers globally in 2016.
Various stakeholders from the ministry of tourism, Shipping ministry, Bureau of Immigration, Central industrial Security Force (CISF), department of Revenue (Customs) and policy consultants etc. came together to discuss the nuances of the action plan to be put in place.
Dr. Mahesh Sharma, Minister for Tourism, Government of India, said that cruise tourism will be a game changer for tourism sector as it helps in foreign exchange earnings as well as job creation. Rashmi Verma, Secretary-tourism, Government of India, informed that in 2013-14 only 103 cruise ships visited India which increased to 158 in 2016-17 and in 2013-14, 80,645 cruise passengers disembarked in India which grew to 191,725 passengers in 2016-17. She said, “This workshop is a landmark in promotion of cruise tourism in India and the fact that both the ministries have come together, shows that we mean business. India has huge potential for cruising and we should also focus on offering river cruise tourism within India for domestic travel.” Other dignitaries present at the workshop included Dr. Alok Srivastava, Special Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Suman Billa, Joint Secretary-Tourism and Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust.