The government of India announced important steps in view to boost the domestic cruise tourism industry.
It is estimated that on an average a cruise tourist spends about US$200-300 and a cruise staff/officer spends about US$100-150 per port visit.
Cruise tourism is a high-end luxury tourist segment of tourism sector. Cruise operations augment local economic activities as business opportunities arise for supply for provisions, transport, hotels, bunkering etc. to cruise ships which generate direct and indirect employment. The local economy also gains from the spending by cruise tourists during land excursions.
To boost cruise industry in the country, the following important actions have been taken:-
(i) All major ports offer a minimum rebate of 30% across the board to cruise ships on all vessel related charges (port dues, pilotage and berth hire) from the notified scale of rates.
(ii) Major ports do not levy any priority/ousting/shifting charges for berthing the cruise vessel, provided the liner informs port 30 days in advance about the requirement of the berth.
(iii) To attract cruise liners to make major ports as homeports, the major ports provide rebate of 25% in vessel related charges for coastal cruise movement. This is in addition to the 40% existing rebate for coastal vessels. Further, walk-in berthing/preferential berthing is given to cruise vessels at home port without any extra charge.
(iv) Foreign flag vessels carrying passengers had been allowed to call at Indian ports for a period of 10 years with effect from 6th February, 2009 without obtaining a license from Director General of Shipping. This has been further extended for a period of five years i.e. upto 5th February, 2024.
(v) For promoting cruise tourism, a Task Force has been constituted jointly by Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Tourism. The Task Force is responsible for drawing up strategies for promotion of cruise tourism including development of facilities and related infrastructure as well as facilitation.
(vi) Standardized Operating Procedures (SOPs) for handling cruise vessels and passengers have been implemented.
(vii) To address manpower, coordination and logistic issues for handling cruise vessels at ports, Port Level Committees with chairman of the respective Major Port Trust as Chairman, Secretary Tourism of the concerned state as Vice-Chairman and Regional Director of the respective region of Ministry of Tourism as Convener have been constituted.
(viii) Ministry of Tourism under its Scheme for Assistance to Central Agencies extends financial assistance to the Ports for development of cruise related tourism infrastructure.