Mumbai cruise tourism set to get a major boost
With more companies interested to set sail from Mumbai, citizens will not only enjoy cruising along in luxury but also the benefits of better pricing.Updated: Feb 16, 2018 19:58 IST
The city’s potential of developing an international cruise terminal has caught the interest of two international companies, who now want to set up home-ports here.
A vessel’s home-port is the port where it is based. With more companies interested to set sail from Mumbai, citizens will not only enjoy cruising along in luxury but also the benefits of better pricing.
Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) at the 10th Biennale International Conference on Port, Shipping and Logistics aboard the Costa NeoClassica cruise ship on Friday, said there are five major companies involved in cruise tourism in the world, of which the Royal Carribean and Norwegian cruise line have shown interest in home-porting.
Europe’s number one cruising company Costa Cruises initiated home-porting from Mumbai last year. Bhatia said, “Looking at Mumbai’s potential of catering to 3 million passengers by next year and the country’s overall potential, international companies are coming forward to set sail from Mumbai. This is a big boost to cruise tourism.”
Terming the cruise policy as India’s economic growth engine, the Narendra Modi government aims to increase the cruise liner traffic to India 10-fold to 700 vessels a year. To start with, five ports—Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi—will be developed as cruise hubs.
To make India attractive to cruise passengers, the government has also exempted tourists arriving with e-visas from biometric enrolment till 2020. Stating this to be one of the biggest boosts to cruise tourism, Bhatia said, “Every passenger takes about 7-8 minutes to do the biometric enrolment, which is time-consuming if a ship has 3,000 passengers at a time. Instead, the government is undertaking other security measures aboard.”
He said the city’s international cruise terminal will be revamped in a year. The first phase, which will cater to two lakh passengers, will be ready by December-end, he said. Pegged at Rs197 crore, the revamp is aimed to transform Mumbai into an international-standard cruise terminal. The new terminal will have all facilities that passengers get at the airports.