Indian cruise ship industry to set sail
The Cabinet on Thursday approved a Cruise Shipping Policy aimed at showcasing India as a major source and destination of world tourism, reports Samiran Saha.India on high seasindia Updated: Jun 27, 2008 02:34 IST
India will soon map its footprint in the luxury cruise-shipping seascape.
The Cabinet on Thursday approved a Cruise Shipping Policy aimed at showcasing India as a major source and destination of world tourism.
India is expected to emerge as a major cruise destination of the East, as popular destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean and Alaska are becoming passé among tourists. Globally, the business generates $14 billion in annual revenues with a passenger base of over 10 million and is growing by 10-20 per cent each year.
“Cruise shipping would be a path-breaking development in India’s effort to carve a prominent space in world tourism,” said Prithviraj Chavan, Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office.
At present, there is no Indian firm operating cruises along Indian shores. India, with its vast and beautiful coastline, virgin forests and undisturbed idyllic islands, rich historical and cultural heritage, can be fabulous tourist destination for cruise tourists, a shipping ministry official said.
To make the industry more lucrative, the shipping ministry is also talking to coastal states to set up exclusive docking facilities for cruise liners. Cochin Port Trust has already lined up plans for cruise facilitation infrastructure.
“The new policy would ensure that the industry in India becomes internationally competitive and contributes to the economy by generating foreign exchange, income, employment and business opportunities,” Chavan said. “The experience in the Caribbean, Latin American and South-East Asian countries shows huge potential for earning foreign exchange and can generate employment from on and offshore activities.”
The policy is aimed at attracting foreign cruise ship operators that have so far avoided India because of its prohibitive tax regime. The government hopes to increase cruise passenger landings from the current 2.43 lakh to 10
lakh by 2010. The policy is also expected to provide tax sops to cruise liners. The details, however, are not known.