'Tourism ministry not doing much to promote cruise'

Parliamentary panel raps the ministry

'Tourism ministry not doing much to promote cruise'
A parliamentary panel has rapped the Tourism Ministry for “not doing much” to promote cruise tourism in India.

The ministry, however, told the committee that a process was on to prepare “a complete action plan and a roadmap” for developing cruise tourism in the country. Ministries of Shipping and Tourism have appointed “a global consultant” for this.

“The Tourism Ministry has not done much for promotion of cruise tourism in the country as only three projects are so far funded by them in the last two years. The country has vast potential for cruise tourism. All the major ports can attract cruise vessels from most parts of the country as well as the world operators,” the parliamentary standing committee, however, said.

The panel noted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi entrusted the Ministries of Shipping and Tourism with task of identifying “viable routes” for cruise tourism promotion at a meeting earlier.

“There are many routes which could be utilised for developing cruise circuits in the country. The ministry has not yet explored the possibility of NW-3 (National Waterways-3: Kollam-Kottapuram stretch of the West Coast Canal),” the panel noted.

The committee underlined that the Cochin Port receives “good number of cruise vessels” and the port has made specific efforts to enhance the tourist footfalls there. “All the required facilities may be developed at Cochin Port to enable the exclusive cruise berth and other facilities to attract more cruise vessels,” it recommended.

The committee suggested for development of the tourist circuits identified by a working group along the NW-1 (Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River between Sagar Island and Allahabad) and NW-2 (River Brahmaputra between Dhubri and Sadiya).

“I would like to assure that we have started activating the cruise tourism which is one of our fortes and strengths of Indian tourism. We are working very hard on this,” Tourism Ministry Secretary N K Sinha told the committee members.

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