Cruise tourism is recognized as the fastest-growing segment in the leisure industry. In addition, the Government of India categorizes cruise tourism as a niche tourism product.
The Indian cruise market has the potential to grow by 10X over the next decade, driven by rising demand and disposable incomes, said Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways and AYUSH, Government of India.
He was speaking at a press conference to announce the upcoming first Incredible India International Cruise Conference 2022 from May 14-15, 2022. Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India, the Mumbai Port Authority, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) are organizing the two-day event at the Hotel Trident in Mumbai.
Speaking to the press persons, the Minister said India is gearing up to be a magnificent cruise destination and capture the growing market. “Indian cruise market has the potential to grow by ten times over the next decade,” he said adding, “the flagship Sagarmala initiative by PM Narendra Modi is connecting the ports of Chennai, Vizag and Andaman with Goa, which receive maximum tourists.”
Shri Sarbananda Sonowal also unveiled the brochure, logo, and the conference’s mascot – Captain Cruzo. He also launched the event website at the press interaction. The conference aims to deliberate on “Developing India as a Cruise Hub.”
“The conference on international cruise tourism aims to showcase India as a desired destination for cruise passengers, highlight the regional connectivity, and disseminate information about India’s preparedness for developing the cruise tourism sector,” the Minister said.
The two-day international conference will witness participation from stakeholders, including international and Indian cruise lines operators, investors, global cruise consultants/experts, senior government officials from the Ministry of Home, Finance, Tourism, and Ports and Shipping, state maritime boards, state tourism boards, senior port officials, river cruise operators, tour operators, and travel agents, among others.
Speaking on occasion, Dr Sanjeev Ranjan, IAS, Secretary, Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, highlighted the number of path-breaking changes to promote cruise tourism in India, which resulted in a 35 percent year-on-year growth in cruise tourism until the COVID pandemic set in.
“In 2019, we had more than 400 Cruise vessels coming to our shores, and reached four lakh cruise passengers,” he said. The secretary added that despite the COVID setback, our ports have been able to develop the infrastructure needed to make the landing of cruise passengers easier in the last two years.
Owing to India’s growth with a higher disposable income, we expect the cruise traffic to go by ten-times by 2030, he said while inviting the industry to attend the International Cruise Conference and contribute to the Maritime India Vision.
Shri Rajiv Jalota, IAS, Chairman, Mumbai Port Authority said: “Through this initiative, we aim to promote cruise tourism and attract tourists with specific interests. Mumbai has been the cruise capital of India and has persistently seen a rise in the growth of cruise passengers and cruise vessels before the pandemic.”
River cruise tourism has also seen a substantial rise in the past few years in the northeast and northern part of the country. In addition, small cruise vessel manufacturing demand seems to be coming from various parts of India.
“To leverage this we have organized the two-day conference focusing on positioning India as the Global Cruise Hub, the policy initiatives and Port infrastructure for the cruise ecosystem, the role of technology in conducting cruises in a post-pandemic scenario, river cruise potential and opportunities for Vessel chartering and manufacturing,” he said.
Shri Sanjay Bandopadhyay IAS, Chairman – Inland Waterways Authority of India, said: “This conference will attract more global players and will have all the operators in global cruise tourism. River tourism is one of the fastest-growing sectors and brings revenue and employment to cruise operators, people, and many related industries. We will be constructing jetties on the major riverbanks like Ganga and Brahmaputra. We are increasing the height of the bridges to allow luxury cruises bigger than the houseboats.”
Giving a vote of thanks to the present dignitaries and media personnel, Shri Adesh Titarmare, IAS, Deputy Chairman, Mumbai Port Authority said, “The Incredible India International Cruise Conference will be a great initiative towards making India a Global cruise Hub of the world.”
The conference aims to position India as a global cruise hub and showcase business and investment opportunities in the cruise tourism sector. In addition, a host of speakers, experts, policymakers, and industry leaders will deliberate on policy initiatives and developing port infrastructure for the Cruise Ecosystem, promoting the technology and highlighting the river cruise potential and opportunities for vessel chartering and manufacturing.
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