MUMBAI: Union Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said the government wanted to increase the number of cruise tourists from two lakh to 40 lakh in the next five years and turn the country into an international cruise destination.
The Minister hoped the number of tourist ships visiting the country would go up from the present 158 to 955 every year. Mr. Gadkari said the revenue benefit would shoot up to ₹35,500 crore in 2022 from the ₹712 crore generated last year, reports The Hindu.
Mr. Gadkari said, “We are the fastest growing economy. The infrastructure and tourism sectors have a great potential to increase employment in the country.” The government hopes to create 2,50,000 jobs at the five main ports of Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Chennai and Kochi.
The growth in the cruise industry is expected to push infrastructure in port areas as better accommodation and transport facilities will have to be made available. Mr. Gadkari said, “Work on the cruise terminal in Mumbai has begun. We plan on increasing connectivity at 200 minor ports to facilitate transport within States. About 75% of cruise vessels will dock at Mumbai as the city is well-connected.”
David Dingle, CEO, Carnival, a U.K.-based cruise operator with 44% global share in the industry, said, “The industry has great potential to grow in India. However, investors will be discouraged if Goods and Services Tax is applicable on the sale of tickets and on-board services along with income tax.