Cruise tourism set to take off in India: Shipping Secy.

Our Bureau Visakhapatnam | Updated on January 24, 2019 Published on January 24, 2019

Cruise tourism is growing at an impressive pace during the past four years or so in the country, with several steps being taken by the Union Government, and in the next few years the growth will be manifold, Union Shipping Secretary Gopalakrishna has said.

He was speaking here on Thursday morning at the Visakhapatnam port on the occasion of the first call of an international cruise liner, Silver Discoverer, at the port. The vessel arrived here from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka via Chennai. He said it was a remarkable occasion as Visakhapatnam was one of the important destinations identified by the Government and the industry to promote cruise tourism. The call charges have been reduced for international cruise liners and each port is making special efforts to create facilities for such liners.

"The Vizag port authorities are also taking steps to build a cruise terminal here and even before that some cruise liners are calling here. It augurs well for the port," he said. He said cruise tourism would bring in high-end tourists from abroad and it would generate a lot of economic activity, even though the port may not be directly benefited directly to any great extent. "Therefore, many ports in the country, such as Mumbai, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi, are building new cruise terminals and promoting such tourism," he said and added that clean conditions should be maintained at the ports and a proper regulatory mechanism should be evolved. There should not be any hassles. "The international tourists should take back a positive experience and that would give the greatest boost to the sector," he added.

Vizag port chairman M.T Krishnababu said an air-conditioned modern cruise terminal would be built at a cost of Rs 77 crores in the port and it had already been sanctioned by the Shipping Ministry. The Union Tourism Ministry would also participate in the project. "Once the construction begins, it will take 18 months to complete the project. The designs have been sent for approval," he said. Meanwhile, he said, three international cruise liners would make calls here during the current year. The Andhra Pradesh Government was also keen to build a tourist circuit here, he added. Nevil Malao, the Assistant Vice-president, J.M Baxi and Co., the shipping agent, also spoke on the occasion.

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Published on January 24, 2019
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