NEW DELHI: The government will invest Rs 1,500 crore to develop five cruise terminals in the country, shipping and roads minister Nitin Gadkari said on Tuesday.
Gadkari said these terminals will be built in Mumbai, Goa, Chennai, Cochin and near Kandla port by the world’s best cruise tourism and terminal operation companies.
The shipping and tourism ministries have jointly engaged EY to draw up an action plan for the development of cruise tourism in the country to realise the immense potential of the sector. The government also wants to ease the security, immigration, customs and health clearances for foreign tourists arriving in India through cruises.
The minister said government-owned major ports will be investing heavily in this new vertical as he’s anticipating almost 700 cruises to come to India in the coming years. Last year, over 100 cruise liners brought foreign tourists to India, mainly to Mumbai. “Almost 10 lakh Indians book cruises and most of them go to Singapore to board it. We could develop the same facilities here,” he said. The minister said various Singaporean companies operating the cruise lines business have shown interest to start operations in India.
“I have met the top heads of SATS-CREUERS and PSA. These are among the world’s best cruise terminal management companies, and both have told me that they want to construct top class cruise terminals in India,” Gadkari said.
“Currently, we have no international style cruise terminals here. How would you have cruise tourism when there’s no terminal? I have told them we’ll soon float the tenders and they can participate in the bidding. We also want to build floating restaurants in Mumbai. The port trust is floating tenders for this,” he said. Gadkari also said he was in talks with a major airline of the country to start seaplane services between Delhi and Mumbai.
“I want to make Mumbai-Goa navigable through waterways for the common public. I’ve proposed this to the promoters of one of the top Indian air carriers. They are studying the feasibility.”