India is fast becoming a global hotspot for cruise tourism with its five major ports witnessing a significant rise in passenger footfall, Parliament was informed today.
A leading European cruise operator has also made Mumbai Port, one of the top 12 major ports in the country, a home port for a cruise ship for several voyages.
"India is fast emerging as a cruise tourist destination.
In 2014-15, a total of 1,04,125 cruise passengers were handled at five major ports which increased to 1,25,838 during 2015-16, achieving a growth of 20.85 per cent over the previous year," Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.
He said in 2016-17, up to January, major ports had handled 1,22,093 cruise passengers and added that during the current fiscal "Costa Neo Classica cruise ship made Mumabi port as home port for seven voyages."
Radhakrishnan said to attract cruise lines/ships as a part of cruise tourism in India, the government has developed cruise terminals at at four major ports – Mumbai, Marmugao, New Mangalore and Cochin.
A mew cruise terminal is under develoment at Chennai Port and is scheduled to be completed by April 2017.
Incentives to attract cruise liners to make major ports as homeports include a rebate of 25 per cent in vessel related charges for coastal cruise movement, in addition to existing 40 per cent rebate for coastal vessel.