The Nitin Gadkari chaired interactive session to formulate the plan for ‘Cruise tourism’. The minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways interacted with different stakeholders to create areas like Sassoon Dock, Sewree Fort, Kanhoji Angre Island, Mandwa, Alibaug and Vijaydurg to develop as attractive tourist destination.
The union minister of state for Tourism K.J. Alphonswas was also present in the session with the official of Mumbai Port Trust, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation and Tourism Department of Maharashtra Government.
In order to attract tourists, water sports activities are being planned around the Marine Drive area. Events like Ferrari Formula 1 and Grand Prix are also on the anvil. Mandwa is to be developed as a Wellness Destinations with facilities for activities like Yoga and Meditation to be developed in land belonging to Mumbai Port. Restaurants and other tourist attractions will be developed in the Mumbai Port area in and around the DCT. The State Tourism Department will arrange reception activities like cultural shows for cruise arrivals.
Government of India has taken several steps to promote Cruise Tourism in the country. These include
- Certainty of berth to cruise ships.
- Ousting charges have been removed – this has reduced overall cost
- Discount of 42-66 % allowed in Port Charges
- Simplified SOPs issued for processes to be observed by multiple agencies like port authorities, Customs, Immigration, Security, State Govt, Ship Agents, Tour Operators etc
- E-Landing card system is ready for ease of travelling among Indian ports
- E- visa introduced for online and on arrival visa facilities
- Cabotage waived for foreign cruise vessels on Indian shores enabling passengers to board the vessel at Indian Ports for voyage along Indian shores.
- Cruise terminals upgraded with more passenger amenities
- New cruise terminals to be constructed
- Reputed consultant appointed by Shipping Ministry to draw up a road map for Cruise Tourism in India. They have projected that the number of tourists is likely to go up to 4.5 million by 2042-43.