Hotels, malls: Mumbai’s Rs197-cr revamp to make it an international cruise destination
According to a cruise tourism road map, close to 4 million passengers are expected to visit India in the next few yearsmumbai Updated: Aug 07, 2017 11:23 IST
A cruise terminal with hotels, shopping areas and separate lounges for arrivals and departures — that is how the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) plans to make the city an international cruise destination.
The idea comes in the wake of the Union ministry of shipping’s plan to promote cruise tourism in India.
MbPT plans to revamp its cruise terminal infrastructure to accommodate the major inflow of passengers expected in the next few years. According to a cruise tourism road map, prepared by Bermelo & Ajamil and Ernst & Young, close to 4 million passengers are expected to visit India in the next few years, of which 3 million passengers expected to take cruises from the Mumbai Port.
To modernise and expand the city’s international cruise terminal, the MbPT has awarded contracts for work worth Rs197 crore to Mumbai International Cruise Terminal (MICT). The new terminal is expected to have the same facilities fliers get at airports, said an official.
Sanjay Bhatia, MbPT chairman, said a 40,000 sqm terminal will come up in place of the current one, which is 3,000 sqm. “We want to project to the world that we are ready. If a decision is taken today, the cruises will arrive after two or three years. The contract has been awarded and a new terminal will be ready within two years,” Bhatia told HT.
In 2016-17, as many as 55 cruise ships halted at the Mumbai Port, each carrying about 60,000 passengers.
Terming the cruise policy ‘India’s economic growth engine’, the government aims to increase cruise liner traffic ten-fold to 700 vessels a year. Five ports — Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi — will be developed as cruise hubs.
The consultants have made 30 recommendations to improve the infrastructure, processes, ease of doing business and reduction in tariffs. “We will soon introduce access-controlled radio frequency identification, e-landing cards, e-visas. It will be just like an airport terminal,” added Bhatia.
The shipping ministry also plans to reduce port charges for cruise ships, he said. Currently, vessels are charged fees according to their gross registered tonnage. “There is a plan to collect the fees according to the number of passengers instead,” Bhatia said.