Chennai relies heavily on cruise tourism but has yet to address infrastructure

On June 6, around 1,800 people arrived at the cruise terminal in the port of Chennai in several shuttle buses. You should board a cruise ship to Sri Lanka. Many were excited, but the excitement was short-lived. It took almost two hours to complete the immigration procedures. Once that was done, people had to lug their heavy luggage and climb a steep ramp to the fifth floor of the ship, as there was no ground access.

The seniors had problems. With seven international cruises between Chennai and Sri Lanka scheduled over the next two months and many more inter-city cruises, the Port of Chennai will accommodate thousands of passengers.

However, the port still needs to improve its infrastructure to accommodate cruise tourism.

While smaller ports like Sri Lanka’s Trincomalee Natural Harbor offer eight international cruises during the season, Chennai hasn’t had much luck with a larger port. Huge international cruise ships pass through the city. You dock in Kochi and then in Colombo and sail on. This is because the port does not have cruise-friendly facilities.

The port needs to give priority to cruise ships, make immigration and embarkation smoother, and upgrade the port to international standards, experts say.

Tourism Minister K. Manivasan said the city needed an exclusive space for cruise ships to dock. “Unlike other countries, the port shares its cargo berth for cruise ships to dock,” he said.

Officials felt that without an exclusive berth, the port might not be suitable for larger international cruise ships, which might have to wait in the outer anchorage. The port has a cruise terminal with 30 counters and a baggage carousel.

Tourists who recently took Cordelia Cruises to Sri Lanka’s Hambantota Port on June 5 faced long queues as there was only one conveyor belt to scan the luggage of 1,800 passengers.

Juergen Bailom, CEO of Cordelia Cruises, said a pre-registration system that allows passengers to provide their information and complete immigration procedures before arriving at the port can speed up the process. “Online check-in can also reduce the waiting time at the terminal,” he said.

A Memorandum of Understanding to create a cruise route has been signed between cruise lines and the Port of Chennai. Sunil Paliwal, chairman of the Chennai Port Trust, said about 25% of the unused space in the port was used for immigration. “We can accommodate 2,500 passengers at a time. We have 26 berths for ships to dock and can dock any ship upon arrival with no waiting time. We are coordinating with the tourism department to create tourist packages for tourists,” he said.

Related Articles

Back to top button