MUMBAI : Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Shri G. Kishan Reddy stressed upon the vast potential of river cruise industry in the country. Addressing the 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference (IIICC) in Mumbai, Shri Reddy invited domestic and international tourists to ‘Come, Cruise in India.’ The minister said ‘The Central Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has made significant efforts to clean and rejuvenate our rivers including the Mammoth Namami Gange Project, which can provide a major boost to river-based tourist activities’.
Union Minister for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH Shri Sarbananda Sonowal was also present at the second day of the conference and witnessed the signing of various MoUs. Union Minister Shri Sonowal along with Minister of State Shri Shripad Naik inaugurated the conference yesterday that is jointly organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India and FICCI.
Speaking at the conference, the Union Minister Shri Reddy said ‘We are currently working towards a Comprehensive Indian National Tourism Policy’. ‘Cruise tourism will certainly be a priority sector, as it is one of the most vibrant and fast-growing sectors of the leisure and travel industry’, he added. Shri Reddy further said ‘Under the ambitious PM GatiShakti National Master Plan, tourism related infrastructure is also being developed with a focus on shipping, river tourism, forest and wildlife tourism’.
Citing upcoming opportunities, Union Minister Shri Reddy said there are around 150 conferences planned at various places in the G-20 countries. He said ‘we should tap these opportunities; we can develop temporary infrastructure if we need’. ‘We may use these platforms for showcasing tourism potential in our country’, he added. The Minister remarked, ‘The promotion of coastal tourism through Beach tourism, Lighthouse tourism and Cruise tourism will help communities such as fishing communities to find other livelihood opportunities and supplement their existing income’.
Union Minister Shri Reddy said that under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned ten projects under coastal thematic circuits worth Rs. 648.80 crore across various States / Union Territories. The government has also sanctioned 228.61 crores for various projects on developing cruise terminals and related infrastructure at major ports under the ”Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development” scheme.
On the second day of the conference, Shri G. Kishan Reddy participated in the two Business sessions namely ‘Potential of River Cruising’ and ‘Cruise Tourism: Success Stories and Destination Development’. He also held a meeting with leaders of International Cruise lines.
G. Kamala Vardhan Rao , Director General Tourism spelt out the steps being taken by Ministry of Tourism to promote Domestic & International Tourism post the pandemic period.
MoUs Singed at the Incredible India International Cruise Conference
1. Mumbai Port and Angriya Sea Eagle Ltd for home porting their cruise ship in Mumbai for the upcoming cruising season.
2. Mumbai Port and Waterways Leisure Tourism P. Ltd for home porting their cruise ship in Chennai for the upcoming cruising season.
3. Mumbai Port and Training Ship Rahaman for being an existing service provider in the field of Maritime Training for Cruise Vessels, it will endeavour to recruit Indian seafarers to support Indian Maritime Vision 2030.
4. Mumbai Port and The Apollo Group USA for being an existing service provider to cruise operator in India, with approximately 600 seafarers.
5. Chennai Port and Waterways Leisure Tourism P. Ltd. for home porting their cruise ship in Chennai for the upcoming cruising season.
6. IWAI and Antara Luxury River Cruises for River Cruise between Varanasi (UP) and Bogibeel (Dibrugarh, Assam) via Kolkata under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.
7. IWAI and Adventure Resorts and Cruises for Development of Long Cruise on Kerela Backwaters (NW-3).
8. IWAI and JM Baxi River Cruise between Varanasi and Bogibeel via Kolkata under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route
Exhibition on Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav
On the sidelines of the conference, Union Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated photo exhibition on Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav at Gateway of India in Mumbai.
About the Conference
The 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India and FICCI. Strategies for developing India as a cruise hub, policy initiatives and port infrastructure, potential of river cruise tourism, role of technology in the post-pandemic world were some of the key issues deliberated at the two-day event.
More than 300 delegates representing stakeholders including international and Indian cruiseline operators, investors, industry experts and consultants, senior officials of centre and state governments, ports, maritime boards and tourism boards attended the conference.