India is fast becoming a global hotspot for cruise tourism with its five major ports witnessing a significant rise in passenger footfall, Parliament was informed today. A leading European cruise operator has also made Mumbai Port, one of the top 12 major ports in the country, a home port for a cruise ship for several voyages. “India is fast emerging as a cruise tourist destination. In 2014-15, a total of 1,04,125 cruise passengers were handled at five major ports which increased to 1,25,838 during 2015-16, achieving a growth of 20.85 per cent over the previous year,” Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
He said in 2016-17, up to January, major ports had handled 1,22,093 cruise passengers and added that during the current fiscal “Costa Neo Classica cruise ship made Mumabi port as home port for seven voyages.”
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Radhakrishnan said to attract cruise lines/ships as a part of cruise tourism in India, the government has developed cruise terminals at at four major ports – Mumbai, Marmugao, New Mangalore and Cochin.
A mew cruise terminal is under develoment at Chennai Port and is scheduled to be completed by April 2017.
Incentives to attract cruise liners to make major ports as homeports include a rebate of 25 per cent in vessel related charges for coastal cruise movement, in addition to existing 40 per cent rebate for coastal vessel.