ANDREA LOPES – New Delhi
The three-day cruise tourism workshop held in Goa earlier this month by the Ministry of Shipping in conjunction with the ministry of Tourism and the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) sought to bring together various stakeholders in the industry to discuss the bottlenecks in promoting cruise tourism in India. In a telephonic interview with Express TravelWorld, Yashveer Singh, director, India Tourism, Government of India, who was present at the proceedings revealed, “The objective of the workshop was to sensitise immigration and port officers and other front-line staff. The workshop also raised the issue of the state governments’ role in promoting cruise tourism in India. Recommendations were drawn up in consultation with various industry stakeholders involving the state government’s role in providing facilities to cruise passengers in the form of coaches, taxis, tourist guides, shops, banks and restaurants.”
According to a private sector participant present at the workshop, there were representatives from each of the five major ports present at the workshop. “This was a good initiative and there are things happening to promote cruise tourism. There were discussions on standardisation of procedures at all ports and the need to identify one home port, to start off with Mumbai was found to be the most viable,” he said.
Singh also added that infrastructure was a major impediment whether in attracting international or domestic tourists. “Some recommendations were drawn up including infrastructure development, marketing of port destinations and tourist spots and better passenger facilitation. We get about 1,60,000 passengers a year, but there is potential to increase this number. The economic instability in Europe is going to take a toll and we need to look at developing the South East Asian region for cruising. The state governments have to be proactive in taking this forward,” he said.