1. Major ports to soon slash berthing charges to woo cruiselines

Major ports to soon slash berthing charges to woo cruiselines

To promote cruise tourism, major ports are set to cut berthing charges for vessels shortly and by October-end the country should have its first domestic cruise service, Mumbai Port Trust chairman Sanjay Bhatia said today.

By: | Mumbai | Published: August 1, 2017 4:30 PM
We will soon be announcing a rationalization in berthing charges for vessels so that we can compete with other ports like Singapore and Colombo to attract more cruises," the MbPT chairman told reporters here. “We will soon be announcing a rationalization in berthing charges for vessels so that we can compete with other ports like Singapore and Colombo to attract more cruises,” the MbPT chairman told reporters here. (Reuters)

To promote cruise tourism, major ports are set to cut berthing charges for vessels shortly and by October-end the country should have its first domestic cruise service, Mumbai Port Trust chairman Sanjay Bhatia said today. “We will soon be announcing a rationalization in berthing charges for vessels so that we can compete with other ports like Singapore and Colombo to attract more cruises,” the MbPT chairman told reporters here. He said the fare rationalization is part of the recommendations done by a specially-appointed international consultant to promote cruise tourism in the country. Bhatia said the India Ports Association is agreeable to the reduction in the charges, suggesting that all the major ports will be cutting the charges. It can be noted that vessels are being charged as per their tonnage and some earlier reports had mentioned about there being a move to charge per passenger. A consultant has laid out 30 steps for making the country a cruise tourism hub, he said, adding that last year, the country witnessed 60,000 cruise tourists through 55 ships. There is potential to increase this number to around 700 ships a year which will ensure 30 lakh cruise tourists, Bhatia said citing the report, adding 70 per cent of these will be domestic tourists.

A consultant has laid out 30 steps for making the country a cruise tourism hub, he said, adding that last year, the country witnessed 60,000 cruise tourists through 55 ships. There is potential to increase this number to around 700 ships a year which will ensure 30 lakh cruise tourists, Bhatia said citing the report, adding 70 per cent of these will be domestic tourists. Eyeing the opportunity, a private entity is building a cruise ship that will start plying between Mumbai and Goa, and back, from November this year, he said. The ship is under construction at MbPT’s Indira Docks and will have a capacity to handle 700 tourists at a time, he said, adding it will offer a luxurious overnight journey to Goa and back. Other steps being implemented include e-landing and e-visa for the tourists, where the immigration authorities under the Union home ministry are helping as per the suggestions, he said.

Bhatia was speaking on the sidelines of a Costa Cruise event, where the Italian company announced a new sailing calendar for the upcoming season that will include short cruises of three-four days as against the earlier seven day packages. It’s country head Nalini Gupta said last season, it had seven voyages between the city and the Maldives with 2,800 tourists each, and 30 per cent of them were domestic tourists. The number of domestic tourists is targeted to go up through the short voyages, she added.

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