Mumbai recently saw a gathering of a high-level delegation from different ministries and government authorities who announced their collective plan and focus to develop cruise tourism. Sharing their perspectives were: Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Shipping, Government of India; Jaykumar Rawal, Minister of Tourism Government of Maharashtra, Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, Vijay Waghmare, MD, MTDC and David Dingle, Chairman, Carnival UK.
Titled ‘Dawn of Cruise in India’ the seminar aimed at encouraging cruise tourism in India, more specifically Mumbai, by improving infrastructure, facilitating quick and easy movement of cruise passengers, and easing taxation for cruise companies. Gadkari identified the reasons why cruise tourism had not taken off in India. As one of the initial steps, all relevant government agencies such as port authorities, security agencies, immigration authorities, customs, and port health authorities were identified and formed a task force to first assess the current condition and then look at the global best practices.
Rawal said, “Maharashtra is pleased to be the homeport of choice for cruises in India. The association with the shipping Ministry mutually assist to formulate policies to support Maharashtra’s position as a cruise hub. Therefore, there is huge potential for cruise tourism among domestic as well as international travellers. Cruise tourism will assist to earn huge foreign exchange and generate job opportunities.”