CRUISE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED

About India

CRUISE INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDED

The new government elected in India last year identified tourism as a major component in increasing the country’s economy. Cruise operators suggest that India has potential as a source market but is handicapped by a poor infrastructure.  The ports in particular “leave a lot to be desired.”

That comment came from Ratna Chadha (the chief executive of Tirun Travel Marketing: the exclusive India representative for Royal Caribbean Cruises.  Chadha stated, “India urgently needs to improve on its cruise port and cruise tourism infrastructure for a more enhanced experience for cruise guests and to better accommodate ships, especially the larger ones.”

“There is no particular policy regulating cruise tourism in India,” says Chadha. We have a coastline of 7,000 kilometres that can be developed as a base for luxury cruise ships. Our ports are mostly being used for freight forwarding and not for tourism. There is no uniformity between the ports.”

Royal Caribbean brings thousands of tourists to India each year. In the spring Royal Caribbean regional vice president, Asia Pacific, Gavin Smith, spoke about the prospects of Royal Caribbean sending cruise ships to India.

"The establishment of a dedicated facility does not have to be expensive or an architectural marvel. It is important that it is low-cost and functional. There are many ports around the world that have erected temporary facilities to attract the industry, and at an appropriate time have constructed permanent facilities, thus, achieving responsible growth in conjunction with the cruise industry."

The state of Goa, on the western coast depends on tourism, but is losing out on the high-end cruise market because of a neglected infrastructure causing criticism from tourists. Ships berth at areas normally used for unloading coal, leaving passengers to walk through the dust when going on excursions.

Goa welcomed 25 cruise ships last year and hope to increase that number annually. A new cruise ship terminal will be beneficial.

“Things are improving gradually and we are certain that this challenge can be overcome with modernisation, better berthing facilities and improved logistical support,” said Chadha.

“These steps are imperative for developing the country’s cruise industry.”

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