Visakhapatnam: The tourism department had mooted, cruise tourism to offer world class experience to the visiting tourists and also Vizagites, but the idea may not materialise so soon due to non-availability of suitable space to develop a cruise terminal.
It may be worth mentioning here that Acade-my of Marine Education and Training (AMET) University, Chennai, which brought its seven star cruise liner having a swimming pool on board to the city in 2011, to offer ‘Night at sea’, had faced problem in berthing the vessel in the port. Previous government had actually decided to seek Expre-ssion of Interest (EoI) to develop cruise terminal at a cost of `200 crore on PPP mode. A BOT operator was to be finalised after technical evaluation. But, the process never progressed due to various reasons and one among it was lack of suitable site to develop the cruise terminal.
AMET Shipping authorities have also evinced interest to begin their regular cruise services from here to Port Blair, if the terminal facilities are provided. Though there are a couple of passenger vessels that operate from Vizag port to Andaman, they are run only twice in month or once in two months.
Sources in the tourism department pointed that it is the jetty at the fishing harbour only viable and suitable location having suitable draft to develop a cruise terminal. But both the fishing harbour and world class cruise terminal cannot coexist at the same location.
According to the tour-ism department’s earlier proposal the cruise terminal will have shopping mall, food courts, convention hall, and business centre with all first class amenities to attract foreign tourists too. “It’s the location issue which is actually delaying the cruise terminal proposal. There are a couple of cruise liner operators who are ready to launch their operations initially loc-ally and eventually to long distances till And-aman,” said an official of tourism department.