The chairmen of the five ports-Mumbai, Kochi, Chennai, Mangalore and Mormugao-identified for the promotion of cruise tourism by the Union tourism ministry, are set to meet in Goa next month. Speaking to TOI, Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) chairman P Mara Pandiyan said, “The chairmen of all the five ports, including the officer of ports, will meet in Goa from July 2 to July 4 to discuss how to attract cruise ships from across the world and to promote cruise tourism at our respective ports after creating a dedicated cruise terminal for big ships.”
There are 360 cruise ships that operate across the world and in a few years this figure is expected to reach 400, with the addition of another 40 ships, sources said. ”We will deliberate on how we can coordinate and attract more and more ships to our respective ports,” said Pandiyan, adding that a representative of the Union tourism ministry will also be present at the meeting to address issues related to cruise tourism.
The meeting is expected to be attended by tour operators involved in cruise tourism, representatives of the state tourism departments, custom officers, immigration officers and central industrial security forces (CISF). “Around 60 representatives are likely to attend the meeting and we will try to remove the bottlenecks faced by the industry that hamper the promotion of cruise tourism,” Pandiyan said.
Speaking about Goa’s cruise terminal, Pandiyan said that the world’s biggest cruise vessels will be able to visit the state from the next tourism season as the work of a new, dedicated cruise terminal for big vessels has been completed. Cruise vessels visiting the MPT will now be able to berth at the new terminal at the breakwater mole at the Mormugao harbor from October. Pandiyan added that the MPT is planning on constructing a dedicated passenger terminal near the cruise terminal to avoid any inconvenience to tourists arriving in such vessels. “We have sent such a proposal to the central government for funds and are awaiting approval,” he said. He added that this facility dedicated to cruise vessels has a length of 310m and draft of 9.5m. “Now, the world’s biggest cruise ships-with over 4,000 passengers, including crew members-can berth at this terminal without any problem,” Pandiyan said. The state government is expecting over one lakh tourists to arrive in Goa via cruise ships once the dedicated cruise terminal is operational.