Indian government draws up strategy to boost cruise tourism

The Indian Ministry of Tourism has drafted a national strategy for cruise tourism, which will serve as a roadmap for the sustainable growth of the segment in the country.

The draft strategy aims to promote India as a preferred destination for cruise tourism – coastal, ocean and river cruises. It identifies the current challenges and focus areas, and highlights that a sub brand, Incredible Cruises in India, will be developed to better position India as a cruise tourism destination.

The Indian government’s strategy aims to promote India as a preferred destination for cruise tourism; Mumbai Harbour in India, pictured

“The national strategy will help to attract investments and facilitate the development of cruise terminals, infrastructure, and services. This will not only enhance the overall cruise experience but also attract international cruise lines to consider India as a desirable destination,” said Jurgen Bailom, president and CEO of Waterways Leisure and Cordelia Cruises.

“One of the key potential benefits of promoting India as a cruise destination is the opportunity to tap into a vast market of global travellers who are seeking new and exotic experiences. India’s diverse destinations like Mumbai, Goa and Lakshadweep have immense appeal to international tourists,” he added, sharing that Cordelia Cruises began operating a service out of Chennai to Sri Lanka last month.

As per the draft, the ministry will work with port authorities and state governments to coordinate the development of international year-round cruise terminals in order to cater to large and mega sea cruises. In addition, development of river cruise tourism around heritage sites, religious places and wildlife sanctuaries will be encouraged.

The ministry will be reaching out to international cruise liners and river cruise liners to include Indian ports and terminals as part of their route planning or for home porting in India.

Raj Singh, founder & chairman, Antara Luxury River Cruises, remarked: “A national strategy drafted by the government in consultation with the cruise industry will help resolve problems for all kinds cruises.

“Taxation, permits and licenses will become much easier to manage while safety regulation will also become much more serious. The government involvement will encourage stakeholders to come onboard and invest in making rivers, shore operations and seaports offer superior quality and safer services.”

Upcoming is the Silversea’s World Cruise in 2026 which will include stops in Cochin and Mumbai. Additionally, Costa Cruises has announced that its ship, Costa Serena, will home port in Mumbai from November 8, where it will sail from Mumbai to Goa and Lakshadweep.

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