NEW DELHI: With India having the potential to cater to 700 cruise ships per year as against 158 handled this year, Center announced to develop cruise terminals at five major ports – Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Mangalore and Chennai.
Pointing out that tourism has the highest investment to employment multiplier, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said that on an average, employment generation on a cruise ship is 1 job for 3-4 passengers and the cruise industry can generate more than 2.5 lakh jobs for ten lakh cruise passengers, giving a big boost to the country’s economy.
In addition, the transport potential of 111 inland waterways will also be tapped. Work will start for developing ten inland waterways by the end of this year, which includes the rivers Ganga and Brahmaputra on which work is already in progress.
Gadkari called upon state governments also to play an active role in promoting cruise tourism by developing, packaging and marketing their tourists attractions to draw more and more tourists.
The Ministry of Shipping has been working with all relevant ministries and organizations of the government to promote cruise tourism in the country. A joint task force headed by Secretary Shipping and Secretary Tourism was constituted for the purpose, and a global consultant was engaged for drawing up an Action Plan.
Highlighting the efforts of the Shipping Ministry for promoting cruise tourism, Dr Alok Srivastava, Special Secretary (Shipping), informed that e visa, e-landing and incentives like minimum rebate of 30 percent on all cruise vessel related charges and additional rebate of 25 percent for coastal cruise movement have already been implemented.
Further to this, a joint task force has been set up by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Tourism and an action plan for deriving standard operating procedure has been drawn, which would be implemented in a time bound manner after discussion with various stakeholders.