BHUBANESWAR: January 26, Republic Day, will mark a new historic moment for Odisha. For the first time, an international luxury cruise liner will drop anchor on the State coast, scripting a high for Odisha tourism.
Silversea Cruises, a Monaco-based luxury cruise liner, has included Odisha in its Asian expedition itinerary. During its 14-night expedition covering many Asian countries, the ship, with over 120 guests, will anchor at Paradip Port on January 26. On its stopover at Paradip Port, the cruise liner will take its guests to the ancient Buddhist heritage sites at Ratnagiri, Udayagiri and Lalitagiri.
The State Tourism department is all set to welcome the international visitors and ensure best arrangements for them. Secretary, Odisha Tourism Vishal Dev has deputed two historians, in place of guides, to accompany the guests and provide them with comprehensive and correct information on the historical, cultural and religious heritage of the Buddhist sites.
“The maiden port of call will provide a much-needed boost to cruise tourism in Odisha. It will open up new opportunities and encourage entrepreneurs to invest and enhance their business prospects in the tourism sector of the State,” Managing Director, Travel Link, and curator of the visit, Benjamin Simon said.
“As international cruise business is shifting focus to India, we need to engage and enhance cruise passenger terminal facilities at existing ports with seamless immigration, custom services and tourist assistance. We should establish best of facilities and offer local arts and crafts shopping at the sites which can generate income and support the local communities,” he emphasised.
Simon said, the cruise liner is also keen on anchoring at Gopalpur Port. This will be great opportunity to showcase Asia’s largest brackish water lake Chilika, the congregation of migratory birds, Irrawaddy dolphins and Olive Ridley turtles in Puri and Ganjam districts before the international tourists.
The luxury ship will cover ports of Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Paradip, Sundarbans and Maheshkhali Island along Indian coast and St Martin’s Island in Bangladesh and Ngapali Beach, Rakhine State, Mawlamyine and Hpa-an and Port Yazar of Yangon in Myanmar.
Currently, Silversea Cruises operates a global portfolio of itineraries to all seven continents and over 900 destinations worldwide.