India's Minister of Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari is pushing for the nation to boost cruise tourism infrastructure highlighting that it could be a major driver for growth of the Indian economy.
As one of the fastest growing components of the leisure industry worldwide, it offers huge employment opportunities, he said. Tourism has the highest investment to employment multiplier, Gadkari said. On an average, employment generation on a cruise ship is one job for three to four passengers.
India has the potential to cater to 700 cruise ships per year compared to the 158 ships handled this year, he said. Cruise terminals are being developed at five major ports – Mumbai, Goa, Cochin, Mangalore and Chennai.
In addition, the transport potential of 111 inland waterways will also be tapped, says Gadkari. Work will start on development projects for 10 waterways by the end of the year. Work is already underway on the Ganga and Brahmaputra Rivers.
India's Ministry of Shipping has already been working to promote cruise tourism in the country. A joint task force has been established, and a global consultant has been engaged to draw up an action plan. Dr Alok Srivastava, the Ministry of Shipping's Special Secretary (Shipping), informed that e visa, e-landing and incentives like minimum rebate of 30 percent on all cruise vessel related charges and an additional rebate of 25 percent for coastal cruise movement have already been implemented.