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New Delhi : Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on August 8, 2017,  said that the government is committed to creat the right environment for promoting cruise tourism in the country.

Speaking at Dawn of Cruise Tourism in India – an international conference organized by the Shipping Ministry at Mumbai Port on August 8, Gadkari said that India has a huge potential of hosting nearly 40 lakh cruise tourists. Given the right impetus, the number of tourist ships visiting India can go up from the present 158 to about 955 per year, according to a PIB release.

The Union Minister expressed confidence that the cruise tourism sector would be a game-changer for domestic as well as international travellers. The sector is estimated to have a revenue potential close to Rs. 35,000 crore and is expected to create over 2,50,000 jobs. Gadkari also released three reports – Road Map for Sea Cruise Tourism”, “Mumbai Port SOP for Cruise Operations” and “Cruise Terminals in India”.

The key items that the studies have identified for success of cruise tourism include creating and developing the right market atmosphere, easy immigration process , security procedures that do not impede movement, taxation regime that allows for a platform for growth, Customs & Duties procedures that do not tie the industry, internationally comparable tariffs, port and tourism infrastructure that meets the needs of the cruise lines and visitors, according to he PIB release.

Various steps have already been taken for growth of cruise tourism. They include finalization of SoPs for handling cruise vessels and passengers, allowing foreign flag vessels carrying passengers to call at Indian ports without obtaining license from DG (Shipping), Constitution of Port-level Committees to address manpower, coordination and logistics issues . A discount of 40% is being given at Major Ports in Port charges. Additional rebate of 25%  for home port cruise vessels in addition to 40% rebate for coastal cruise transportation. E-Visa facility and e- Landing card has been extended to five major ports, according to the PIB release.

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