And now, weddings on cruise ships, courtesy Gadkari ministry
Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Marriage cruise service will be started soon with additional banquet and entertainment facilities. We are considering a proposal from a private player who is keen on starting the service between Mumbai and Chennai. A decision will be taken soon.”Updated: Mar 03, 2016, 08:41 IST
If you are looking for the perfect wedding destination, then look no further. A luxurious wedding on the Indian Ocean or the Bay of Bengal or the Arabian Sea could be the perfect venue for the romantic at heart.
The shipping ministry is planning to let cruise ships organise weddings on board.
Union shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said, “Marriage cruise service will be started soon with additional banquet and entertainment facilities. We are considering a proposal from a private player who is keen on starting the service between Mumbai and Chennai. A decision will be taken soon.”
Organising weddings on board is big business for major international cruise liners such as the Royal Carribean.
But in India the concept is yet to take off.
Despite having a 7,500km long coastline, cruise tourism in India is still at a nascent stage with only a handful domestic players. A mere one lakh Indians opt for cruise tourism as compared to over 20 million global tourists.
“There is not a single hub port in India where cruise liners can dock. Poor infrastructure and taxation hurdles are an issue,” a ministry official said.
At present, foreign cruise ships are allowed only in Mumbai, Chennai and Cochin. Domestic operators ply small cruise ships on the Brahmaputra and Ganga, which are part of National Waterway 1 & 2.
“There are three-four small ships which run heritage tour on these routes,” the official added.
Domestic cruise ships also ply in Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshwadeep.
However, with the government’s ambitious plan, the scenario is set to change. Gadkari said the idea is to explore India’s vast coastline.
“The shipping and the tourism ministry will together redraft the cruise shipping policy. We are not only looking at upgrading our port infrastructure but will also include other services such as floating restaurants, etc. to encourage private players to invest in cruise tourism,” Gadkari added.
The ministry is also planning to start sea planes, an amphibious aircraft that can land on water.
“We have received a proposal from a private firm to run 25 such planes across India’s 101 waterways. After going through the proposal, we will forward it to the directorate general of civil aviation for an approval,” the minister said.