Indian government employs consultant to grow cruise tourism

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The Indian government will be pushing to develop the country’s cruise industry after the Union shipping ministry appointed a global consultant to create an action plan.

The plan has identified five potential cruise circuits which include India-Dubai, Cochin-Colombo-Male-Seychelles and India-Malaysia.

“Developing these circuits can give a big fillip to cruise tourism in the country. A final call on which circuits should be taken up for development on a priority will be taken after the consultants submit their final report next month,” a source told the Times of India.

Currently, the majority of Indians fly to Southeast Asian countries like Singapore or the Mediterranean to cruise on ocean ships.

Travel agencies like Thomas Cook India have been selling fly-cruise packages between India and Singapore, and have reported strong growth after cruise operator Royal Caribbean announced it would be partnering with Singapore Tourism Board and Changi Airport.

But this may change, as India becomes a global cruise destination with locals now opting to cruise out of their home country, rather than fly to Singapore.

A number of organisations are also pushing to grow India’s cruise tourism with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announcing it would be launching travel agent program to educate Indian agents looking to sell cruise.

“Developing these circuits can give a big fillip to cruise tourism in the country. A final call on which circuits should be taken up for development on a priority will be taken after the consultants submit their final report next month,” a source told the Times of India.

But currently, Singapore still remains as a top location for Indians to cruise from due to its easy access for short weekend getaways said Rajeev Kale, President and Country Head-Leisure Travel, MICE, Thomas Cook.

“Singapore enjoys the favoured destination status and hence this fly-cruise opportunity allows us to further our Singapore agenda.” Mr Kale commented that India is a high potential and burgeoning travel market, and cruising is seen as a “highly aspirational and another key driver for this opportunity.“