Govt turns focus to cruise tourism, aims to offer communities additional sources of income
Cruise tourism is among the most vibrant and fast-growing sectors of the leisure and travel industry, Union Culture and Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy said. Speaking at the first Incredible India International Cruise Conference, Reddy said the ministry was working towards a comprehensive national tourism policy. As one of the most vibrant and fast-growing sectors of the leisure and travel industry, cruise tourism will be a priority sector, he said.
Speaking on the ambitious PM GatiShakti National Master Plan, Reddy said tourism-related infrastructure was being developed with a focus on river tourism, shipping, forest and wildlife tourism. Reddy also pointed to the Namami Gange and other projects, adding that the Centre had made significant effort to rejuvenate Indian rivers to boost river-based tourism.
The minister said there were 150 conferences planned at various places in the G-20 countries, citing upcoming opportunities. The promotion of coastal tourism through lighthouse tourism, beach tourism, and cruise tourism will help communities to find other means of livelihood and supplement their income, he said.
Speaking at the same event, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said rising demand and disposable income meant the Indian cruise tourism market had the potential to grow tenfold over the next decade.
As part of the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Union Ministry of Tourism has already sanctioned 10 projects under coastal thematic circuits worth Rs 648.80 crore across states and Union Territories. The government has also approved Rs 228.61 crore for projects to develop cruise terminals and related infrastructure at major ports as part of the “Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development” scheme.
Organised by the Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, the Incredible India International Cruise Conference witnessed presentations on strategies to develop India as a cruise hub. Policy initiatives and port infrastructure, river cruise tourism, and technology’s role in a post-pandemic world were also discussed at the event.