Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday announced India’s first international cruise from the port of Chennai to Sri Lanka. This is part of a series of initiatives by the center to boost cruise tourism across the country.
The luxury ship MV Empress will call at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka on Wednesday, calling at Trincomalee on the island nation’s northeast coast and Kankesanturai in Jaffna district before returning to Chennai. The cruise offers shopping districts, bars, swimming pools, cinemas and more.
A government announcement on Monday said that the Rs.17.21 billion international cruise terminal at the Port of Chennai will be put into operation with the departure of the MV Empress.
Speaking to News18 afterwards, Sonowal said the Mumbai international cruise terminal and similar initiatives in Visakhapatnam, Mormugao in Goa and Kolkata are evidence of the union government’s sweeping push to build “modern infrastructure” to take advantage of the east and west coasts .
“Our Honorable Prime Minister has told us that there is tremendous potential for cruise tourism development in India. Under his leadership, the Ports Ministry is taking several initiatives to develop modern infrastructure facilities,” the minister said, adding that the acceptance rate has increased fivefold since 2014, helping the government to achieve the goals set out in the Maritime India Vision 2030 policy.
Sonowal underscored the importance of Monday’s launch, saying it was the first time an international cruise had launched from Chennai. “This is also a start on a global scale – India’s cruise lines are playing a huge role, giving a boost to our capacity expansion and cruise tourism growth.”
According to a February government announcement, the Maritime India Vision (MIV) 2030 envisions “mega-ports, transshipment hubs and port infrastructure upgrades, and estimates investments of over 1,00,000-1,25,000 crore to expand capacity and develop world-class ports “. Infrastructure in Indian ports. The future ports of Vizhinjam (Kerala) and Wadhawan (Maharashtra) have natural drafts in excess of 18m that would allow ultra-large container and cargo ships to call at the ports.”
Historic beginning! ⛴️
Sri @sarbanandsonwalHonorable Minister @shipmin_india, in the presence of Sri Sunil Paliwal IAS, Chairman, and Sri S. Viswanathan IAS, Dy. Chairman, inaugurated the first regular international cruise service (MV Empress) from Chennai Port to three ports in Sri Lanka pic.twitter.com/sCY5BHWO1C
— Chennai Port Authority (@PortofChennai) June 5, 2023