Cruise tourism will emerge as a “game changer” helping in earning valuable foreign exchange and job creation, Union Tourism minister Mahesh Sharma said today. He made the remark during the inaugural session of a workshop on ‘Action Plan for Development of Cruise Tourism in India’ which was chaired by Union Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari. Sharma said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keenly interested in tapping the tourism potential of the country and cruise tourism.
“The arrival of tourists has gone up and India, which was placed on 52nd spot in world tourism and travel index of 2015, has improved its ranking further by 12 notches getting placed at 40th spot in 2017,” Sharma said. Gadkari said the action plan for cruise tourism in the country will be ready in next 3-4 months. “The report prepared on cruise tourism by the foreign consultant will be discussed and the action plan will be ready in next 3-4 months. Next year is going to be very good for cruise tourism in India,” he said.
The government intends to promote cruise shipping and tourism in a big way through the coordination of Shipping and Tourism ministries. Development of cruise tourism in India has been announced as a project of national importance by the government. The Netherlands-based consultant Bermello Ajmali has prepared a report on cruise tourism in India, which has a low penetration rate in the sector.
At present, India has a very small share in world cruise tourism market, as against 23 million passengers globally in 2016. Current estimates indicate that approximately 1,20,000 Indians book a cruise each year. As per Singapore Tourism Board statistics, over 90 per cent of India’s cruise tourists travel to that country for cruising experience.