Published on : Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Though options for those exploring a vacation along the eastern shores are very few, cruise companies are now looking at heading there.
The Ministry of Shipping has already begun revamping the port terminals in order to prepare the eastern coast for the upcoming industry and make the ports passenger-friendly, for Indians as well as foreign tourists.
A Ministry of Shipping official shared that with a view to promote cruise tourism along the Indian Coast, the government has revised standard operating procedures to facilitate cruise tourism like e-visa facility at five sea ports of Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Cochin and Chennai, exemption of e-visa tourists from the requirement of biometric enrollments for a period of three years and reduction of port charges and construction of a new cruise terminals at these five major ports. As per estimates, this is likely to create employment for 2.5 lakh persons and generate revenues to the tune of Rs 35,500 crore.
Italy-based Costa Cruises, which is among the world’s leading operators and has been in India for three years, is now planning to expand its operations in the country. This company, which sails tourists in Mumbai-Cochin-Goa-Mangalore-Sri Lanka-Maldives, wants to open the Bay of Bengal for operations.
“We have plans to start sailing on the eastern coast and maximize from India’s operations. We may start sailing between Chennai and Port Blair. We are also contemplating on international sailings from eastern coast,” said Nalini Gupta, managing director of Lotus Destinations, the Indian marketing arm of Costa Cruises.
A new entrant in the Indian cruise shipping industry, too, is planning to look East. As per the details shared by a source, this new player who is yet to start its operations in India, plans to operate on the Vizag-Chennai-Vizag route.
This new luxury cruise player will also divert the cruise vessels to the eastern coast when the monsoon hits India’s western coast.