Cruise tourism on the Brahmaputra has got a boost with the Inland Waterways Authority of India signing two MoUs with private companies.

The agreements were signed at the Incredible India International Cruise Conference which concluded in Mumbai.

The agreements are between IWAI and Antara Luxury River Cruises for River Cruise between Varanasi (UP) and Bogibeel (Dibrugarh, Assam) via Kolkata under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route and between IWAI and JM Baxi River Cruise between Varanasi and Bogibeel via Kolkata under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.

Speaking at the conference which concluded yesterday, Union Minister G. Kishan Reddy Reddy said they are working towards a ‘Comprehensive Indian National Tourism Policy.’ 

“Cruise tourism will certainly be a priority sector, as it is one of the most vibrant and fast-growing sectors of the leisure and travel industry,” he said. 

Reddy further said under the ambitious PM GatiShakti National Master Plan, tourism-related infrastructure is also being developed with a focus on shipping, river tourism, and forest and wildlife tourism.

Citing upcoming opportunities, Union Minister Reddy said there are around 150 conferences planned at various places in the G-20 countries. He said ‘we should tap these opportunities; we can develop temporary infrastructure if we need’. ‘We may use these platforms for showcasing tourism potential in our country, he added.

The Minister remarked, ‘The promotion of coastal tourism through Beach tourism, Lighthouse tourism and Cruise tourism will help communities such as fishing communities to find other livelihood opportunities and supplement their existing income’.

Union Minister Reddy said that under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, the Ministry of Tourism has sanctioned ten projects under coastal thematic circuits worth Rs. 648.80 crore across various States / Union Territories. The government has also sanctioned 228.61 crores for various projects on developing cruise terminals and related infrastructure at major ports under the ”Assistance to Central Agencies for Tourism Infrastructure Development” scheme.

The 1st Incredible India International Cruise Conference was jointly organized by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India and FICCI. Strategies for developing India as a cruise hub, policy initiatives and port infrastructure, the potential of river cruise tourism, the role of technology in the post-pandemic world were some of the key issues deliberated at the two-day event.

More than 300 delegates representing stakeholders including international and Indian cruise line operators, investors, industry experts and consultants, senior officials of centre and state governments, ports, maritime boards and tourism boards attended the conference.

Also read: Surge in natural gas price taking toll on tea industry: NETA



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