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India government and port officials heading to Miami

Attending Seatrade Cruise Global is Rajiv Jalota, chairman of Mumbai Port Authority, pictured here in a plaque exchange onboard Crystal Symphony during the ship’s recent call
Officials from India’s Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, together with senior officials from the port authorities of Mumbai, Murmugao and Cochin, are attending this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global in Miami (April 8-11).

Experts believes India's cruise sector has potential to grow ten-fold over the next decade owing to increasing consumer demand and rising middle to high-income households.

In 2022-2023, India welcomed 227 calls and 471,988 cruise passengers.

International and domestic cruise ships

The current season started on November 2, 2023 and Mumbai alone is expecting to welcome 28 international calls, while domestic operator Cordelia Cruises’ Empress will make 80 calls to Indian ports in 2023/24 compared to 47 in 2021/22, a rise of 170%.

Costa Cruises' Costa Serena also homeported in Mumbai in last quarter of 2023 and recently completed 20 sailings over two months in her debut season.

India has enhanced its focus on cruising with government departments responsible for tourism, ports and shipping actively promoting cruise for its economic impact, the potential for job creation, for earning foreign exchange, and other benefits.

Government policies

The Indian government has introduced cruise-friendly policy initiatives which include cabotage relaxation, e-visa facility, guaranteed berthing, volume discounts, single e-landing cards and uniform operating procedures for customs and immigration at Indian ports.

Recently, in order to further promote tourism, the GST Council recommended conditional IGST tax exemption on a foreign flag vessel when operating in coastal waters subject to its reconversion to foreign flag within six months. Four theme-based coastal destinations cruising routes are being developed.

Any cruise line executives wishing to meet with Indian government representatives and port offcials in the India delegation at Seatrade Cruise Global can email [email protected], noted Rajiv Jalota, chairperson of Mumbai Port Authority.

Seven cruise ports have been identified for upgrading of cruise facilities, with terminals at New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai and Visakhapatnam already completed, and in Mumbai and Mormugao, terminal upgrades are expected to be commissioned in 2024-2025.