Cruise tourism can grow three-fold by 2010, says study

August 31st, 2008 - 3:58 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 31 (IANS) Cruise tourism industry can grow three-fold in the country provided the government focuses more on developing physical infrastructure and streamlining immigration and custom checks process, a study has said.”India’s cruise tourism industry could witness an over three-fold rise in the visit of domestic and international passengers at Indian ports from the current level of 180,000 to 600,000 a year by 2010,” said the study jointly carried out by industry lobby Ficci ( the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry) and knowledge service provider Evalueserve.

However, to achieve this growth, the government needs to zero in on developing physical infrastructure, streamlining immigration and custom checks processes, and take recourse to viability gap funding in building infrastructure, the study on ‘Developing Ports as Cruise Tourism Hubs in India’ added.

Though the country has 12 major ports and 185 minor ports with a 7,500-km-long coastline, the cruise industry has failed to attract much attention due to lack of necessary infrastructure, government policy and taxation, the study said.

This sector is a fast-emerging and a marketable product, growing at the rate of 12 percent annually globally. While cruise tourism annually generates around $15 billion worldwide, with a passenger base of over 10 million, India’s share is only two percent.

For 2007-2008, almost 54 cruise companies have sought permission to enter the Indian cruise circuit. Not only are the international players taking interest, but domestic players are also coming forward and setting up operations, the study said.

The study recommends that the prime focus in future should be on developing the necessary infrastructure at the Indian ports.

In addition, allied infrastructure such as good port connectivity is also essential.

It said some of the key growth drivers likely to promote India as an attractive cruise destination include exotic tourist locales, strong port connectivity, government support and the overall growth of Indian tourism industry.

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