Centre committed to position India as global cruise hub: Union minister Shripad Naik

Panaji, Jun 20 (PTI) Union Minister of State for Tourism Shripad Naik has said the central government recognises the immense potential of cruise tourism and is committed to position the country as a “global cruise hub”.

Naik was on Monday addressing a side event – ‘Making Cruise Tourism a Model for Sustainable and Responsible Travel’ – during the ongoing G20 Tourism Working Group meeting.

The Union government aims to “increase cruise passenger traffic from the current 0.4 million to 4 million,” while the economic potential of cruise tourism is expected to rise from USD 110 million to USD 5.5 billion in the years to come, he said.

“The Government of India recognises the immense potential of cruise tourism and is dedicated to positioning India as a global cruise hub with state-of-the-art infrastructure for both ocean and river cruises,” Naik said.

Union Tourism Minister G Kishen Reddy was also present on the occasion.

Naik said significant upgradation and modernisation efforts are underway at seven major ports across the country, including the flagship new International Cruise Terminal in Mumbai, with a total cost of approximately Rs 495 crores.

“The iconic sea cruise terminal at BPX-Indira Dock (Mumbai) is expected to be commissioned by July 2024, and will have the capacity to handle 200 ships and one million passengers per annum. Similar infrastructure upgrades are also taking place in Goa, New Mangalore, Kochi, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, and Kolkata,” he said.

Cruise tourism holds significant importance in the overall tourism sector, contributing to the enhancement of local economies through employment opportunities, additional tax receipts, foreign exchange benefits and revenue generation, Naik said.

“Understanding the perceptions and attitudes of residents towards tourism is crucial for future planning, policy considerations, and successful development, marketing, and operations,” he added.