The total cruise callings on five ports including Chennai, Cochin, Mumbai, Mangalore and Mormugao were 138 ships carrying a total of 1.76 lakh passengers in fiscal 2017-18.
Union minister of state for shipping Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday said the initiatives undertaken to bring in synergy in the functionality of various stakeholders have resulted in a nearly four-fold jump in cruise callings on Indian ports in the last two years. The cruise industry accounts for a significant portion of the contribution to the national economy. The total cruise callings on five ports including Chennai, Cochin, Mumbai, Mangalore and Mormugao were 138 ships carrying a total of 1.76 lakh passengers in fiscal 2017-18.
“This number increased to 285 callings in FY19 and is projected to rise to 593 cruise traffic in the current fiscal. This was possible only because of the initiatives our government has taken to promote cruise tourism in the country,” Mandaviya said. The minister, who was in the city for the fourth India sailing season of Italy flag cruise Costa Victoria said that apart from these five, two more ports including Kolkata and Vizag are being developed for cruise traffic would soon start getting calls.
“Cruise tourism is currently one of the fastest developing verticals in the Indian tourism sector. Over the years, cruise tourism has been recognised as an active component in the economic growth of any country and we also see it as a major source of employment because of its labour-intensive nature and the significant multiplier effect on employment in related sectors,” he said.
Costa Victoria, having a capacity for 2,394 passengers, is the first biggest cruise to do homeporting in Mumbai. The minister further said the government is also taking initiatives to develop inland waterways for river cruise tourism. “Apart from that, new destinations like Tarkarli, Murud Janjira and Ganpatipule in Maharashtra, Thiruvanathpuram, Vizhinjam and Calicut in Kerala, Daman, Diu Porbandar and Dwarka in Gujarat and Lakshwadeep and Kadmat islands are being developed,” Mandaviya added.
Speaking at the occasion, Mumbai Port Trust chairman Sanjay Bhatia said, “this is a suitable time for cruise liners to come to India as the government authorities are taking proactive steps to finally use our long coastline. We are looking forward to homeporting many more ships and building the Mumbai port as a leading port of India.” He further said that in the next five years the cruise callings will increase to 1000 and reach 2000 in 10 years.