Mumbai enroute towards becoming hub for luxury cruise tourism

Administration's interest and arrival of a top cruise company may provide much needed push for developing Mumbai as home port.

Mumbai: Cruise tourism has garnered a steady popularity all over the globe with more and more people showing a bent towards luxury tourism. Like any other country, India too has a large number of travellers who would choose to spend time at sea and explore popular destinations at the same time.

An increase in income leading to subsequent growth in purchasing power for India’s middle class has fuelled a rising demand for luxury travel. The administration also seems to be taking note of these developments as it has been working towards making options like cruise tourism more accessible and affordable for Indians.

A cruise liner belonging to a top company like Costa setting sail from Mumbai is just what was needed for developing the city as a home port. The presence of Maharashtra’s Minister of Tourism Jayakumar Rawal along with the chairman of the Mumbai Port Trust Sanjay Bhatia at the launch shows that the administration is keen on working towards boosting tourism in Mumbai.

Bhatia stated Mumbai’s port currently has the capacity to host 80 ships, but a report suggests it has the potential to host 700 ships and 32 lakh passengers once developed adequately. This could work wonders for tourism since three lakh Indians presently travel abroad for boarding cruise ships and the number of domestic passengers may go up to 1.5 million by 2031-32.

Speaking at the event, Tourism Minister Jayakumar Rawal said, "The shipping ministry plans to convert all six ports into cruise ports”. He also lauded the Immigration Department for introducing e-visas at ports like Mumbai, Goa, Kochi and Chennai.


Bhatia also announced the development of a cruise terminal on the lines of the international airport to facilitate steady growth in the sector. He further added that Mumbai to Goa cruises may set sail around the end of December.

Costa’s cruise liner called Costa neoClassica with 654 cabins including suites with private balconies along with a casino, theatre, ballroom and a wellness centre spread across 1500 sq. m, will leave from Mumbai every alternate Sunday. The four night cruise to Kochi is priced under Rs 30,000 and the seven night cruise to Maldives will cost Rs 40,000 making it affordable for Indian travellers.

In addition to making it easy for Indians to board a ship by bringing it closer to home, cruise tourism also promises to generate more employment opportunities and boost local economy according to Principal Secretary for Tourism and Culture in Maharashtra Mr Sanjay Gadre. Since the cruise liner will return to Mumbai every 15 days, it will help local suppliers expand their business.


Tourism Minister Jayakumar Rawal described cruise tourism as the fastest growing sector and said that it will “create more jobs while making a value addition of Rs 32,500 crore to the national economy.” He also announced Mumbai Mela, a shopping festival on the lines of the annual shopping event in Dubai to attract more people to the city.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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