If all goes per plan, Mumbaiites will soon be able to take an overnight cruise in the Arabian Sea from city to Konkan.
International cruise liners will take passengers to Konkan and bring them back to Mumbai all year-around.
At present, overnight cruises are organised only by private companies from city to Goa and they cost anywhere between Rs 3,500-9,000 per head per day. The prices for the Konkan cruises are expected to be similar to the private Goa ones.
The Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) is in the process of asking for an expression of interest (EOI) for the project.
“MTDC will act as a mere facilitator and provide all the on-ground support, which will range from embarking facilities at Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) to facilities related to excursions, lodging and boarding at the destinations the cruises will visit. We can have an internal circuit planned in Konkan,” said Avinash Dhakne, Joint Managing Director of MTDC.
Dhakne added that since MTDC does not have the resources to own a cruise liner, it plans to team up with a few interested cruise companies.
The idea is to prepare an itinerary where the bookings are done through MTDC. The tourists will then travel on the cruise, enjoy all the on-cruise facilities, which will be provided by the private company and once they reach the destination, MTDC will again take over.
Vithal Kamat, hotelier and president of the Maharashtra Economic Development Council (MEDC), who is working with the state on the 'Golden Maharashtra' tourism project, said that having a local cruise circuit in place is the need of the day and it will certainly get a good response.
“Tourism is the economic engine of any state and it is yet to be completely explored in Maharashtra, especially in the scenic Konkan region. If priced affordably and packaged well then this might just be the beginning of a new era for tourism in the state,” said Kamat, adding that since water transport is a cheap mode of transport and also more eco-friendly, the project will work well.