Opening a new vista of opportunity in the field of river tourism in the entire South Asia region that could add spin to the momentum of India’s growth story, MV Ganga Vilas — the world’s longest motor vehicle river cruise — made a history by concluding its 50-day trip that kickstarted from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, which was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 13 — a game-changer for cross-border trade.
The launch and successful maiden journey of MV Ganga Vilas has showcased Incredible India at a time the country is helming G-20 affairs. The luxury cruise vessel has a capacity of carrying as many as 80 passengers with 18 suites. It is featured with facilities like a gym, spa, open-air observation deck and personalised butler service.
Second sail from Dibrugarh to Kolkata
MV Ganga Vilas, being operated by Antara Luxury Cruises, will embark on a 30-day voyage to Kolkata on Thursday with 15 Swiss tourists, Raj Singh, Chairman of Antara Luxury Cruises said, reported PTI.
As per the report, there will be around 10-15 Swiss tourists onboard MV Ganga Vila, who will experience various Indian cuisines and cultures. The ship will cover a distance of 2,200 kilometers in the journey beginning Thursday, Singh said, adding the cruise will take multiple halts at select locations for tourists.
Maiden journey from Varanasi to Dibrugarh
With the successful end of its maiden journey covering a distance of over 3200 kms across 27 river systems, MV Ganga Vilas arrived at Bogibeel, Dibrugarh, on Tuesday, which carried 28 foreign tourists. During the epoch-making journey, the tourists travelling abroad had an opportunity to travel through iconic places like Patna Sahib, Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila, Dhaka, the Sunderbans and the Kaziranga before reaching Dibrugarh in Assam.
50 tourist spots
During the journey, the onboard tourists crisscrossed 50 tourist spots including, national parks, world heritage sites, river ghats, and major cities like Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Patna in Bihar, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.
The tourists of the cruise were welcomed by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal along with Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Rameshwar Teli, MoS Labour and Employment, Petroleum and Natural Gas among others.
New vista for tourism and freight carriage
MV Ganga Vilas has put India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world, which has opened up a new vista for tourism and freight carriage in the Indian sub-continent. Both domestic and global tourists, who would like to experience spirituality, can have the opportunity to visit destinations like Kashi, Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila, Patna Sahib. Also, those who want to explore the natural diversity will cover destinations like Sundarbans and Kaziranga. MV Ganga Vilas will provide tourists an immersive expedition while exploring the art, culture, history, and spirituality of both India and Bangladesh.
‘Transformation through transportation’
Sonowal said, “The successful completion of world longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, has exemplified how India under the leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi ji is ready to explore newer horizons to unlock value for the country.”
The successful cruise movement as well as cargo movement on inland waterways is a testament to the vision of PM Modi to bring about transformation through transportation, he added.
The Central government is committed to work towards achieving Maritime India Vision, 2030, Sagarmal by 2035 along with PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan and National Logistics Policy.
Speaking on the mega boost to the river economy in the Northeast region, the minister said, “Our glorious history of riverine trade is set to be reclaimed with the successful completion of the world longest river cruise. With the visionary leadership of PM Narendra Modi ji, we have reclaimed our access from Brahmaputra to international marine trade routes via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) & coastal ecosystem.”