India’s cruise tourism sets sail with new government reforms

A houseboat in Alleppey, Kerala. Source: Shutterstock

INDIA’S government plans to introduce reforms to boost its cruise industry as more Indians embark on cruise holidays.

Nine recommendations were drawn out by the Shipping Ministry including a single-window system for all pre-cruise requirements for cruise operators such as entry of vehicles, personnel and tourist guides, and speeding up of the registration process.

Some of the other reforms – which could be implemented as early as the end of July – include a dedicated, more simplified approach to rules and procedures, and executing hassle-free logistics for cruise companies and passengers.

In line with new goals, a special committee has been set up to ensure cruise liner traffic in India increases tenfold to 700 vessels a year.

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At the moment, India has a small share of the world’s cruise tourism market, estimated at 23 million passengers a year.

Separately, the state of Kerala is planning a “River Cruise Tourism” project based on the models of Nile Cruise by developing waterways that connect the north of the state to the south.

The project is aimed at promoting “slow tourism” where tourists can spend an extended number of days to complete their circuit.

Kerala is renowned for its waterways and canals that take on river cruises and house boats, a lucrative source of revenue for the state’s tourism sector.

Text by Surekha Ragavan.