As a part of the government's ambitious Rs.12 lakh crore Sagarmala project, the shipping ministry is busy identifying five cruise circuits each for international, domestic and river that can be developed immediately .
Some of the cruise circuits are likely to be India-Sri Lanka-Maldives-Seychelles, India-Dubai, India-Singapore and India-Maldives. Shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said he was confident that Mumbai alone will see the arrival of 100 cruises.Goa, Cochin and Mangalore could have 60 each and 11 more could be docking in Chennai in the next one year.
More than 100 cruise ships usually reach five major Indian ports every year. Though some global cruises had sailed from India in 2007 and 2009 making Indian ports their “home port“, their runs were short-lived. Inadequate infrastructure and no clear cruise policy were the major reasons for this.
The government in the past two years has made several changes for cruises docking in Mumbai such as providing certainty of berth, priority to cruise ships over cargo ships, 40% discount in port charges and new standard operating procedures for easing immigration, health, customs and security clearances.
Moreover, tourism ministry is also providing financial assistance to ports for cruise tourism infrastructure.