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MTDC, Mumbai Port Trust associates with Costa Cruise to promote cruise tourism

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Costa Cruises has commenced its India season with the arrival of its ship, Costa neoClassica at the Mumbai port. The Costa neoClassica was inaugurated by Jaykumar Rawal, minister of tourism, Government of Maharashtra, in the presence of Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, Mumbai Port Trust; Nitin Gadre, principal secretary, tourism and culture, Government of Maharashtra; Vijay Waghmare, managing director, MTDC; Aashutosh Rathod, joint managing director, MTDC and Nalini Gupta, managing director, Lotus Destinations (representative of Costa Cruises in India).

The event kicked off with an announcement of the sailing of Costa neoClassica from Mumbai to Maldives via Kochi. The sailing commenced on November 24, 2017 and will run till March 2018. A dual task force for cruise tourism has also been designed for having standard working procedures to ensure proper training and generate employment opportunities in the sector. The demand for cruises is set to grow and the domestic cruise passengers are estimated to grow to 1.5 million by 2031-32.

The Italian cruise liner will call the Mumbai port its home for the next four months and will perform a series of weekly sailings from November 2017 to March 2018. Costa Cruises has deployed its ship, Costa neoClassica that is part of the neo collection in its India itinerary. This classic cruise ship has a total of 654 cabins, including sea view cabins and suites with private balconies. Fully-equipped with a casino, theatre, disco, ballroom, grand bar, it aims to provide plenty in entertainment. The wellness centre is spread across 1,300 sq m with a gym, treatment rooms, sauna and steam room. It also has an outdoor jogging track, four jacuzzis and two swimming pools. For those who would like to go shopping, the cruise ship has a duty free shopping centre, and also offers a selection of books in the library.

Rawal stated, “We are delighted to be the homeport of choice for cruise tourism in our country. The association with the shipping ministry will jointly assist to frame policies to develop Maharashtra’s position as a cruise hotspot and therefore, there are massive prospects for cruise tourism across the globe. Cruise tourism will assist in making huge foreign exchange and create employment opportunities. Anticipating the surge in demand, MTDC associates with Mumbai Port Trust and Italy’s Costa Cruise to improve the cruise port which will generate opportunities for international cruise liners and enhance cruise tourism in Maharashtra.”

Madan Yerawar, state tourism minister, Government of Maharashtra, added, “I believe that Maharashtra has a huge potential in cruise tourism with its rich natural resources. Similarly, Maharashtra’s richness will also play a vital role in exhibiting MTDC’s efforts to promote cruise tourism and will cater to the passion of travellers. Cruise tourism is emerging as traveller’s desire to relish in vacations and the government aims to attract 40 lakh tourists in next five years which will further enhance cruise tourism prospects in the state.”

Bhatia said, “The timing is right for cruise liners to come to India as the government is taking proactive steps for utilising our vast coastline. I would like to thank the cruise companies that have taken the initiative to start sailings from Mumbai and have shown their confidence in the Indian government and India market. We are looking forward to many more ships coming to India and Mumbai port, going forwards. They can count on Mumbai Port’s efficient managerial, organisational and planning support and assistance at all times. Our objective is to exceed the expectations of the cruise liners and the cruisers, both domestic and international.”

Gadre stated, “Cruise Tourism is the most exciting and fastest developing element of the leisure sector across the world. Over the years, cruise tourism has observed a growth and has become an active component in the economic growth. Today, the segment offers diverse facilities than earlier, and it has been established as advanced and high-class in terms of services. I am certain that this medium will offer a unique way of travel for visitors seeking to discover the state of Maharashtra.”

Waghmare commented, “It is significant for MTDC to cater new offerings in the tourism sector. The combined efforts of MTDC and Mumbai Port Trust with Italy’s Costa Cruise aim to bring a world-class cruising experience to travel enthusiasts across the globe. Cruise tourism is becoming an increasingly popular leisure choice across the world and I am confident that this association will combine the aspects of brilliance, quality and entertainment to the travellers. This medium of tourism will certainly entice tourists from across the world and will establish Maharashtra on the global map.”

Gupta said, “Costa Cruises is coming back to India for its second season and expanding its sailing offerings to include shorter sailings of four nights from Mumbai, specifically for the India market, which confirms its strong interest in India. The cruising market in India has come a long way from only a select group cruising in far-away locations to today a much wider audience holidaying on ships cruising directly from India.”