Maiden cruise vessel for Indian tourists reaches Hambantota port in Sri Lanka
Some 80,000 tourists, mostly Indians, are expected to use the Chennai-Hambantota-Trincomalee-Chennai cruise service every week during the next four months
The "MS Empress" arrived with 1,600 passengers and 600 crew members on board, the local agent for the Advantis and Cordelia Cruises said.
As part of a partnership between Advantis -- the transportation and logistics arm of the Hayleys Group -- and Cordelia Cruises, Advantis - Travel and Aviation will serve as the general sales agent while Advantis Group subsidiary Clarion Shipping will serve as port agent for Cordelia Cruises in Sri Lanka, local media earlier reported.
Some 80,000 tourists -- mostly Indians -- are expected to use the Chennai-Hambantota-Trincomalee-Chennai service every week during the next four months.
The newly-launched cruise service would sail to three ports -- Hambantota, Trincomalee and Kankesanturai -- in Sri Lanka.
The launch of the cruise service comes in the backdrop of the memorandum of understanding signed between Chennai Port and Waterways Leisure Tourism for domestic and international cruise service at the Incredible India International Cruise Conference in 2022.
"We are delighted to welcome Cordelia Cruises and embrace a completely new segment of luxury cruise tourists," said Hayleys Group Chairman Mohan Pandithage.
India is Sri Lanka's top inbound tourist market. Over 23,000 Indians visited Sri Lanka in May followed by Russia at second with over 7,000 tourists.
The maiden international cruise vessel between Chennai and Sri Lanka was flagged off by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday.