6 Jun 2023

Maiden International Cruise Vessel MV Empress Flagged Off, How it Will Herald New Age Of Cruise Tourism & Maritime Trade In India

Chennai: The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off the maiden International Cruise Vessel - MV Empress, India's first international cruise vessel - from Chennai to Sri Lanka in Chennai on Monday. 

This marks the beginning of the international cruise tourism terminal at Chennai, built at a cost of Rs 17.21 crores, heralding a new age of cruise tourism & maritime trade in the country. Coinciding on the occasion of Environment Day, the Union Minister  Sarbananda Sonowal along with the port officials also planted 2500 tree saplings at the port.

'People can enjoy luxurious amenities and breathtaking views'

Sonowal said, "With our rich heritage & culture around our coastal region, the potential of cruise tourism in India is immense. Today, as we launch the maiden cruise service between Chennai and Sri Lanka, it has ushered in a new chapter in the cruise tourism sector in the country. As the affordability & access to world class cruise services becomes a reality, the people can enjoy & relish luxurious amenities, entertainment, and breathtaking views.”

The cruise service is the result of an MoU signed during the first Incredible India International Cruise Conference in 2022 between Chennai Port and M/S Waterways Leisure Tourism Pvt Ltd to start domestic and international cruise service. 

Opening of international circuit will bolster cruise tourism business 

With an overwhelming response by 85,000 passengers availing the cruise service through 37 vessels for the domestic circuit, it is expected that the opening up of international circuit will further amp up the business of cruise tourism in the region. The modern cruise terminal developed at Chennai Port is spread over an area of 2,880 square meters with an ability to host 3,000 passengers at a time.

As more and more people are likely to experience cruise tourism in the near future, the government will develop world class infrastructure to support and enable growth of cruise tourism and maritime trade. 

3 new international cruise terminals likely to be completed by 2024

Sonowal said three new international cruise terminals are likely to be completed and become operational by 2024. 

"We expect that the volume of cruise ships will increase from 208 in 2023 to 500 in 2030 and upto 1100 by 2047. Consequently, the number of passengers availing cruise services is also likely to increase from 9.5 lakhs in 2030 to 45 lakhs in 2047," Sonowal said.

In order to boost demand for cruise services on the western, southern and eastern coasts of India, the government is working on Gujarat Pilgrimage Tours, Cultural and Scenic Tours, Ayurveda Wellness Tours & Heritage Tourism. 

Sonowal said plans are afoot to develop new cruise tourism terminal in Andamans, Puducherry and Lakshadweep circuits. We are also studying the feasibility of developing ferry circuits across India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar.

Cruise service will sail to three Sri Lankan ports

The cruise service will sail to three Sri Lankan ports; viz. Hanbantota, Trincomalee, and Kankesanturei. The tour packages on board MV Empress will be offered for 2 nights, 3 nights, 4 nights and 5 nights. During its run at the sea, MV Empress will be touching 3 ports in Sri Lanka before returning to Chennai.

No comments:

Post a Comment