The Ovation of the Seas Quantum-class cruise ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., sits berthed at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Cruise Tourism Policy Likely In A Month, Says Nitin Gadkari 

India is working on a cruise tourism policy with an aim to tap more investments in the sector, and it may be finalised by next month, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

“Based on today’s consultations with the stakeholders, international consultants and secretaries of Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Shipping, a policy on cruise tourism will be made in a month,” said Gadkari at the ‘Workshop on Action Plan for Development of Cruise Tourism in India’ held in New Delhi on Tuesday.

The policy will envisage norms for immigration, security problems for foreign tourists, hospitality and restaurants. The country draws nearly 70 cruise vessels a year, which is expected to go up to 700 with this initiative, the minister said.

Government plans to develop Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Goa and Mangalore ports into cruise terminals. The government has also urged 200 minor and private ports with the state governments to develop passenger terminals for cruise tourists.

Capital investment for ports is productive. We are eyeing a profit of Rs 7,000-8000 crore from ports this fiscal year. I also urge states to set up task force to see coordination happens on day to day basis.
Nitin Gadkari, Shipping Minister

The government is developing a modern 2-lakh square feet terminal in Mumbai at an estimated cost of Rs 225 crore to make it a landmark destination, which will have infrastructure to accommodate cruise ships with size for 4,000 passengers.

The ministry is awaiting Cabinet’s nod for the proposal for development of Mumbai port trust.

“Forty-six percent capital investment is required for employment generation in tourism sector. If we will have 700 cruises, we can give employment to 2.5-3 lakh people. They will receive training of skill development," added Gadkari.

India, with a 7,500 km of coastline, has taken some key steps to promote cruise that includes relaxation of policies and roping in global consultants.

“The idea is to put India on the global cruise map – both for oceans and rivers – which is seen to create about 2.5 lakh jobs and boost growth. India saw 1.76 lakh cruise passengers in 2016-17, a merely 0.5 per cent of the global pie. Domestic cruise passengers are estimated to grow to 1.5 million by 2031-32,” he added.

The minister added that the work to develop waterways on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra is on while that of another 10 waterways will start by December.

The government is spending Rs 250 crore on dredging in the Brahmaputra on the Bangladesh side, which once developed would facilitate transport till Myanmar.

With inputs from PTI.